Jammu/Bhaderwah, May 18 (PTI) A carcass of a leopard with bullet injuries was found in a forest in Jammu and Kashmir's Doda district on Monday, officials said.
The six-year-old male leopard was found dead in a water stream in the forest near upper Dandi village, around 3-km from Bhaderwah town, they said.
The Forest department officers reached the spot after locals informed that they herd gunshots in Neeru range, the officials said.
'We rushed to the scene and found the leopard dead in a stream. The postmortem was conducted by the veterinary doctors on the spot which revealed death due to gunshot in the stomach,' Range Officer, Bhaderwah forest division, Shafqat Khankan Malik told PTI.
He said although the vital parts of the animal were intact, poaching cannot be ruled out.
'The suspected poachers apparently could not get time to reach the dead animal due to prompt arrival of our team,' Malik said, adding that police were informed and an FIR was lodged in the case.
Later, Bhaderwah Tehsildar Zeeshan Tahir and SHO Shamim Ahmad also reached the spot and started investigations.
'This is a very serious offence and any body found guilty will not be spared. Carrying any firearms in the forest is an illegal and heinous crime,' Tahir said.
After completing all the formalities, the carcass of the leopard was consigned to flames in the presence of a witnesses, the officials said.
A manhunt has been launched to nab the culprits, they said. PTI CORR/TAS AB AD