The 80-year-old woman had been asleep in her hut in Gujarat’s Amreli district when the leopard attacked, forest officials told The Tribune.
Villagers rushed to the scene after hearing the woman’s cries, however she succumbed to her injuries and died in the home.
The hut where the attack took place lies on the outskirts of Jabal village in Savarkundla Taluka, close by to the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary is well known for its Asiatic lions, leopards and antelopes.
It is not unheard of for predators to wander out of the sanctuary and into human settlements looking for food. Conflict between humans and wildlife has increased in recent years, as human settlements expand and encroach into habitats. Extreme weather events caused by climate change, such as drought, can also force wildlife into populated areas, as food and water becomes scarce.
Range Forest Officer Pratap Chaandu told the Tribune that efforts are underway to catch the animal.
Chaandu said that the victim’s daughter was in another hut at the time of the attack. He suspected that the leopard was hungry, on the lookout for prey.
Officials have set up two cages in the village in an attempt to lure the big cat.
“We have set up two cages to catch the leopard. We have also asked villagers to take extra care as the area is close to a forest,” the official said.
Leopards are skilled predators, however they do not usually attack humans out of the blue. It is not yet clear whether the leopard was emaciated, but previous, similar incidents have been put down to the animals’ desperation for food.
This is not the only leopard attack to occur in recent weeks.
Earlier this week, an 8 -year-old girl was killed by a leopard in the Dhumodi village of Trimbakeshwar Taluka in Nashik, the Times of India reported.
The girl had been playing outside on a farm near her home when the leopard attacked. The leopard pounced on her and dragged her away.
Forest officials found her body three hours later during a rescue mission
In June, a 9 -year-old boy was also killed in a leopard attack Nilwandi village of Dindori Taluka, the Times of India reported.
According to 2016 statistics there are nearly 1,400 leopards in the Gujarat region. Efforts to control the population have previously been initiated by officials, to ensure that conflict keeps to a minimum.