Nepal sends police, rangers on hunt for man-eating leopard

KATHMANDU: Authorities in Nepal have launched a hunt for a wild leopard after it killed two girls in two weeks in the country's remote western region, local officials said on Tuesday.

The animal pounced on a group of four children playing in the courtyard of their home and dragged away a four-year-old girl, said Kishor Kumar Chaudhary, chief administrative officer of the Baitadi district, an area 600km west of Kathmandu.

The girl's body – with an arm missing and head separated – was found on Sunday about 800m away from the house, said Chaudhary.

"She was the second victim in two weeks. A seven-year-old girl was also killed in the same region. The animal attacked her and snatched her away from her house," he said adding that the number of victims has reached two dozen in the past four years.

A team of 20 people including police officers, rangers and local hunters had been deployed in the region, Bal Narsingh Kunwar of the district's police force said.

"The people of Tallo Swarad have been terrified because of the attacks.

"The animal has targeted children and women. So we have ordered our forces to either capture it alive or kill it," he said.

Locals have been warned not to venture outside their home alone and to keep an eye on children, Kunwar said.

Three years ago, the local administration launched a similar campaign, announcing an award of US$234 (RM956) to anyone who captured or killed the animal. — dpa