Decomposed leopard carcass found in garden

Siliguri, Oct. 24: Workers of Kurti Tea Estate in Nagrakata found the decomposed carcass of an eight-year-old male leopard this morning.

Around 8.30am, the pluckers spotted the carcass covered with mites, ants and insects in Section 19 of the estate and informed the garden management.

“Immediately, I rang up police and foresters, informing them of the incident,” said R.K. Rungta, the manager. “Those who saw the carcass said it seems to have died seven to 10 days ago.”

Ram Majhi, the worker who first saw the body, said they had not plucked tealeaves in the section for the past 10 days or so. “We suspect that the leopard might have died during the period.”

The foresters could not specify the reason for the death. The life expectancy of a leopard is 15 to 20 years.

“I have seen the body and primarily feel that it might have died a natural death,” Tapas Das, the divisional forest officer (wildlife-II), said. “However, we are not ruling out any other reason which will be clear only after the post-mortem is conducted at Gorumara National Park.”

Over the past few years, leopard deaths have become frequent in north Bengal. On October 19, a big cat was found run over on the tracks along the Diana tea garden. The animal was around 9 to 10 years old. Another male leopard was found dead on the tracks at Sonagachi in September.

“Leopard population has been increasing in the country, but our concern is that their deaths have become frequent now,” said Animesh Bose, the founder coordinator of the Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation.