Man scalped by leopard was saving cat
Guwahati - An Indian labourer who had his scalp ripped off by a rampaging leopard over the weekend has spoken of his horrific ordeal, saying he was trying to save the cat when it turned on him.
Pintu Dey is recovering in hospital in India's northeastern state of Assam after being badly mauled outside his house in an attack captured in a series of startling and gruesome photographs.
"My two children were inside the house and so I went to save them when I found some policemen aiming to shoot the leopard," Dey, who is in his 40s, told AFP from his hospital bed.
"I pleaded against killing the cat and literally stood between the policemen and the leopard like a shield, and all of a sudden I found myself attacked and blood splattered all over."
The leopard had strayed into a residential area in the centre of Guwahati, the capital of Assam, and attacked another three people, killing one.
Dey also suffered a fractured hand and cuts caused by multiple bites on his hands and legs.
Leopard taken to tiger reserve
A former journalist and lawyer called Deva Kumar Das succumbed to his injuries on Sunday. The condition of the other two was said to be stable.
Referring to Dey, a doctor in the Wintrobe Hospital told AFP: "I would say the injury is really severe as he lost a lot of blood and his scalp wound is indeed serious."
The cat was later tranquilised by forest officials and taken to the Assam State Zoo in Guwahati. On Monday it was set free in a tiger reserve in Manas, western Assam.
"I wish the government could take care of my medical expenses as my financial condition is not sound," Dey told AFP, explaining that he does casual work but has no reliable source of income.
Thousands of people are attacked by wildlife in India each year, with tigers, leopards, elephants and snakes the most dangerous.
Conservationists blame a decline in the natural habitat for wild animals, particularly dense forest cover in areas surrounding cities, for the deadly incidents occasionally reported from urban areas in India.