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Leopard mauls, terrorizes villagers in India

July 20, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A leopard went on the attack in an Indian village, mauling nearly a dozen people as villagers tried to stop it.

The leopard was on the attack in the Indian state of Siliguri, terrorizing villagers and forcing forestry officials to flee and dive for cover. Some even climbed on top of a Jeep to escape from the male leopard's attack.

At one point, the big cat jumped on top of a man, knocking him to the ground while clutching him in its giant paws.

Villagers used knives and stones to keep the cat at bay.

Wildlife officials who wore protective helmets tried to drive the cat into a nearby sanctuary, but the leopard stood its ground, crouching on a wall, attacking anyone who came near.

The cat was eventually captured, but died shortly after the standoff was over. A post mortem is being conducted to determine how the animal died.

Four wildlife officials, a police officer and six villagers were mauled by the leopard. They are all recovering from their injuries, mostly swipes from the cat's claws.

Leopards are protected in India and wildlife officials say they normally avoid humans at all costs. It's possible, they say, that the animal was sick or injured.

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