Missing Kashmiri girl, 4, found mauled to death by leopard in India

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<p>The four-year-old girl, suspected to have been killed by a leopard, went missing from her lawn in Budgam district of Kashmir </p> (AFP via Getty Images)

The four-year-old girl, suspected to have been killed by a leopard, went missing from her lawn in Budgam district of Kashmir

(AFP via Getty Images)

A four-year-old girl, who went missing from her house, was found mauled to death by a leopard in Budgam region in the federal Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The girl was playing in the lawn of her house in Ompora colony when she went missing on Thursday evening and family lodged a report at the local police station.

A police official told local reporters that the girl was taken away by the leopard and mauled to death. The rescue and search operation was carried out by wildlife officials and the local police.

Graphic visuals showed the body of the girl being carried out of a nearby nursery – a forested area – on Friday.

The crestfallen grandfather of the girl broke into tears as everyone gathered to pay their last respect as her body lay wrapped in a green shroud on the ground.

“She was our princess,” he said. “We repeatedly stressed to the government (about the wild animals). This is a very sorry state. I plead to the authorities that in the future the security of the locals should be ensured,” he said.

He said two leopards were spotted in the area but nothing was done.

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The locals and family members continued their search through the night. They spotted blood marks in the area during the initial search.

The incident took place just five kilometres away from the border of Srinagar city, capital of Jammu and Kashmir.

The angered residents claimed leopards have been seen roaming in the residential area for quite some time and alleged no steps were taken by wildlife officials to ensure safety of the locals.

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“We have been pleading with the wildlife officials for long to do something about it. This nursery has become so dense now and they need to take steps to ensure such gruesome incidents don’t take place”, India Today quoted Syed Khalid, a resident of the locality, as saying.

This is not the first incident of a fatal attack by a wild animal in the hilly state with thick forest cover. Several incidents have been reported of people being mauled to death by bears, leopards, and as well as the elusive snow leopard.

Last month, at least eight people were badly injured in a leopard attack in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. The locals later killed the leopard.

In another incident this year in April, the body of a seven-year-old boy was found eight days after he went missing in the forests of Devsar in Kulgam, suspected to have been killed in a leopard attack.

According to official records, animal attacks are on rise in Jammu and Kashmir. Between 2014 and 2018, about 49 people were killed and 829 injured in such attacks.

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