Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Leopard and lions

1st image) A full-grown male leopard attacking a forest official in Prakash Nagar, India, one of 11 people he wounded on July 19, 2011; 2nd image) The remains of one of a pair of lions responsible for killing 135 people in Kenya in 1898, preserved in a diorama at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History.

A leopard believed to have killed and eaten as many as 15 people in Nepal - 10 of them children - is being hunted by wildlife officials. The latest of the victims over the past 15 months is a 4-year-old boy, whose severed head was found in the forest after he was dragged from the courtyard of his house 600km (373mi) west of Kathmandu. A bounty of 25,000 rupees ($460) has been offered for bringing in the animal dead or alive. "There is no alternative but to kill the leopard," says Maheshwor Dhakal, ecologist for the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.

More than a century ago in Kenya, as many as 9 times as many people were killed by a pair of lions known as the "Tsavo man-eaters" after the river near which the victims, native workers building a bridge under the direction of the British, were stalked and taken. The drama, which played out from March to December of 1898 was the subject of the Oscar-winning film 1996 film "The Ghost and the Darkness." The maneless male lions were shot and killed by project leader Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson, who kept their hides as rugs on his floor for 25 years. In 1924, he sold them to the Field Museum in Chicago, where they were mounted, remain on display to this day, and have been the subjects of many scientific studies.
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