Mystery shrouds death of leopard in Bolangir

Bolangir: Days after a leopard was found dead in Saintala area of Bolangir district, the statements of Bolangir DFO Sameer Sadangi citing it as a ‘natural death’ and not due to any trap has now stirred a controversy.

While a video clearly shows that the leopard was trapped in a wire entangled to a tree, such a statement by the DFO has prompted many to allege that the Forest department officials are trying to shield the accused.

“External examination of the carcass found that there is no wound. But we have called upon the veterinary doctors to carry out the post mortem and find whether there was any internal injury. The exact cause of the leopard death will be known only after the post mortem. This seems to be a natural death. As it is a prohibited zone, poaching is impossible,” said Sadangi.

The veterinary officials also stated that the injury that was seen on the leopard’s limb was not a fresh one.

“Nails of the leopard were missing and it’s a previous injury,” said Babita Patra, the veterinary officer, Saintala block adding that there was no sign of any wire when the team visited the spot.

However, Titlagarh Ranger Jitendriya Nanda has partially accepted about the presence of the wire near the carcass. “I cannot say exactly how the animal died. The video shows there was a trap, but the post mortem report will reveal the actual reason of death,” said Nanda.

Meanwhile, locals have expressed their concerns in discrepancies of the statements of forest officials.

“We demand arrest of the culprits. If no action is taken at the earliest, we will gherao the Range office and Forester office,” said Jitu Sahoo, a local.

“Poachers had set up the trap and the wire was found around the leopard. We suspect poachers are hand in glove with the Forest staff,” alleged Nilambar Behera, another local.