What you need to know:
- Leopard cub was abused by villagers.
- The animal during treatment.
- Incident took place in Maharashtra.
A six-month old leopard cub died during treatment, after a viral video showed villagers abusing the wild cat by dragging it by its tail.
The incident took place in the Indian state of Maharashtra. In a video posted by Indian news website, Mumbai Mirror, people were seen gathering around a visibly ill leopard cub, talking about how old the animal might be. A man argued in the background: “If you would slaughter such a big goat, you would get four kilo mutton.”
People were also heard laughing and screaming in delight as a man dragged the wild cat by its tail and threw it around. The group later took pictures and selfies with the cub.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), India, tweeted the video and added: “The Range forest officer of Sadak- Arjuni range registered a Preliminary offence (POR) under section 9 and 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 against three and arrested one of the primary accused, the other two are still absconding. Further investigations are on.”
The video generated a lot of anger online, with tweep @pradip_ch writing: “Accused should be punished to make an example.”
Another Twitter user, @noeshell, tagged the official account of India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and wrote: “Why can’t the ministry electronically tag prominent wildlife creatures?” In a later tweet, he added: “Article 51 A - to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and WILDLIFE and to have compassion for living creatures. I would like to see these people who led to the cub’s death be dealt with more severely.”
Wildlife conversation is an ongoing issue in India, with the Wildlife Protection Society of India stating that the country recorded 460 leopard deaths in 2018, the highest mortality rate of the big cat species in the country in the last four years.