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Leopard attack in Jharkhand's tiger reserve injures two forest officials

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Ranchi, Sep 26: Two forest personnel have been injured in a leopard attack at Palamu Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Jharkhand, while another was hurt while running away from the big cat, officials said on Monday.

The incident took place after the leopard entered the Sambar Soft Release Centre at Bareysanr range of PTR on Sunday. The leopard also killed and ate a barking deer, which was recently rescued and kept at the centre.

Two forest personnel have been injured in a leopard attack at Palamu Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Jharkhand

The feline could not be driven out of the facility till Monday morning and efforts are underway, they said. "Two forest trackers, identified as Suryanath Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav, received bite injuries while another was injured while running away from the leopard," PTR Deputy Director (South Division) of the reserve, Mukesh Kumar, told PTI.

Forest trackers are daily wage employees hired for patrolling and tiger-tracking. The injured forest trackers are being treated at a hospital. "Akhilesh Yadav received bite injuries on his hand and thigh, while Suryanath Yadav received a major bite injury on his hand and we had to administer 10 stitches.

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They were also given anti-rabies injections," Dr Jaiprakash Sahu of the medical establishment said. While on regular patrolling duty at the soft release centre, Suryanath Yadav was suddenly attacked by the leopard early on Sunday morning. It was an unexpected and unprecedented incident as a leopard had never entered the centre before, another forest official said.

After the incident, PTR authorities asked field workers to drive out the leopard and Akhilesh Yadav was injured during the operation on Sunday afternoon, he said. "The leopard could not be driven out of the facility on Sunday as it became dark and rained in the evening. Right now, our only mission is to drive out the feline.

Thereafter, we will assess the damage caused by the big cat," PTR Field Director Kumar Ashutosh said. Fencing from two sides of the centre was removed in a bid to drive away the leopard.

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Spread over 15 hectares of land, the soft release centre has 18 sambar deer in it. In a bid to increase the prey base for tigers in the reserve, a total of 16 sambars were brought from the Birsa Munda Biological Park in Ranchi in 2016-17. They have been kept at the soft release centre for acclimatisation and the next generation of sambars will be released into the wild.

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