A female leopard suspected to be a man-eater was shot dead in the early hours today in Motichur range of Rajaji Tiger Reserve in Uttarakhand, an official said.
Aged about 6-7 years, the female leopard was shot dead at around 3:30 am when it was spotted walking with a limp near Khand village where people displaced by the Tehri dam reside, Rajaji Tiger Reserve Director Sanatan Sonkar said.
On close examination its right paw was found to be severed which made it walk with a limp, he said.
The disability may also have been the reason why the big cat had become a man-eater instead of hunting in the forests for prey, Mr Sonkar said.
The Rajaji Tiger Reserve authorities have a strong suspicion that the female leopard killed today had claimed a number of victims in villages neighbouring the reserve.
The order to kill the suspected man-eating leopards was issued by the then wildlife warden DVS Khati through a letter dated May 21, 2018, which also authorised Dehradun resident Prashant Singh as the hunter for the purpose, Sonkar said.
Mr Singh shot the leopard with his personal high-calibre gun, he said.