Lakhimpur Kheri: A large cat attacked and killed a 45-year-old farmer in the Dudhwa buffer zone under the Belrayan Range in Lakhimpur Kheri district on Saturday evening, forestry department officials said.
The deceased was identified as Rammurti, a resident of Dumeda village in the Tikunia Kotwali region. The agricultural fields, where the victim took place, were close to the forests of Katarniaghat Wildlife Reserve, Dudhwa buffer zone deputy director Sundresha said, confirming the death in the feline attack.
However, he said: “It remains to be determined whether the big cat was a tiger or a leopard.” He further said that they were with the grieving family at the time and that an investigation had been opened into his death.
According to reports, victim Rammurti along with others was harvesting his sugar cane crop on Saturday. During the harvest, a large cat hiding in the cane field, which the villagers described as a tiger, attacked Rammurti and trird to drag his body into nearby forests. However, the villagers rushed to the scene, chased the big cat and retrieved the body.
Forestry officer Vimlesh and his staff, Tikonia kotwali manager Balendu Gautam and other police officials also rushed to the scene and inquired about the incident.
In particular, the Belrayan range shares its limits with the Katarniaghat wildlife reserve. The movement of big cats and wild elephants has increased in this area, leading to a number of human-animal conflicts.
Half a dozen people in this area have been killed by wild animals since October 6, 2020, causing enormous resentment among the population. The forestry department for its part dug trenches, installed lighting in September / October 2020 to keep wild animals away from human dwellings, however, demographic conditions are a problem.
Officials also issued advisories, asking villagers and farmers to be on high alert and work in groups.