A leopard carcass was found on Tuesday in Bawanpur village in Bulandshhar district. This is the fourth leopard to have been killed by villagers in the region. Earlier, the big cat had been killed by local people in Bijnor, Moradabad and Badaun.
According to JP Singh, forest ranger of Anupshaher town in Bulandshahr, said "I was informed about the presence of a leopard in the region and after reaching there, we found its carcass. The cause of death can only be ascertained after a postmortem."
Divisional forest officer Ganga Prasad, however, said that it is possible that the leopard could have died of natural causes.
"In the wild, leopards generally live up to 10-12 years and it is very much possible that the one we found died of natural causes. Nevertheless, we have sent the carcass for postmortem," he said.
Villagers have killed three leopards in west UP this month.
On January 6, villagers in Bijnor had gunned down a leopard after a child was allegedly mauled to death by the big cat. Nearly 80 villagers were booked for the crime.
After the incident, a special team led by principal wildlife conservator of UP Sunil Pandey visited Mohandiya village in Bijnor tehsil, 30 km from Bhogpur village in Najibabad tehsil, where the leopard was killed.
He issued orders to capture a leopardess suspected to have killed at least three of the six people mauled to death by big cats in the district since November 27.
On January 7, three suspects involved in illicit business of animal skin smuggling were also arrested by a Deoband police team in Saharanpur district.
A leopard skin, worth Rs 20 lakh in the international market, was also recovered from them.
The forest department filed an FIR against unknown persons after a leopard carcass was found in Kanth area of Moradabad.
The post mortem report said a head injury was the cause of death, which could be the result of being "run over by vehicle or hit in the head by someone".
On January 12, a leopard was beaten to death in a village in Badaun district and an FIR was registered against eight named and 30-35 unidentified villagers in the case. An SIT was also constituted to probe the brutal killing.
Experts fear that the increase in man-animal conflict will serve as a boon for hunting tribes and poachers.
A wildlife expert said, "The wild animals whether alive or dead will end up in wildlife trade as official agencies have not been able to check the growing crisis. The fact that forest department is ill-equipped to reduce man-animal conflict will give poachers and hunting tribes like Kanjars and Badhiya a chance join hands with frightened villagers. This will obviously expose leopards and other animals in the region to grave risk."
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)