The maneater of Deval

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prashantsingh
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The maneater of Deval

Post by prashantsingh » Sat Sep 26, 2020 8:50 am

Hello All
Back after quite some time .
I just realised the last maneater I had written about was the Maneating Leopard of Lansdowne .
After that, much has happened . We (my team and I) shot the Motichur maneater , BHEL Haridwar maneater and recently on the eve of my birthday the maneating leopard of Deval
The Motichur leopard had accounted for more than a dozen human kills .The BHEL maneater had killed 3 adult men and injured 1. The Deval maneater had made the least human kills but being the most recent, I shall share the story in greater detail.

Nestled in the Himalaya , about 18 kms from Patapnagar is a small village of Deval . Well known in the area for its beautiful Shiva Temple . To reach the place one has to first drive to New Tehri cross the river Ganga and drive through a winding road to Deval.
My friend Zaheer Bakshi accompanied me for the trip.I had switched over to a .375 mag rifle sometime back. Armed with two .375 mag rifles ,two 12 bore dbbl guns and a couple of flash lights we left for the spot in my Mahindra Thar
I am still as bad at computers as i was a few years back.. Will ask Zaheer to post the snaps.
This story is dedicated to two of my dear friends and hunting partners whom I have lost in the last couple of years. Kr Sanjay Singh and Kr Samarth Pratap Singh

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Re: The maneater of Deval

Post by timmy » Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:34 pm

Prashant, it is so good to see you here and hear from you again! You have had many experiences, and we eagerly await the details of this account.

Welcome back!
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Re: The maneater of Deval

Post by drag73 » Sat Sep 26, 2020 2:06 pm

That is a nice story. Could you or your friend update the details of you guys lured this maneater and eliminated him. Thanks

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Re: The maneater of Deval

Post by AgentDoubleS » Sat Sep 26, 2020 3:36 pm

Glad to see a thread from you after so long, Prashant. Looking forward to reading about Zaheer and your adventures..

-SS

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Re: The maneater of Deval

Post by kanwar76 » Sat Sep 26, 2020 5:23 pm

Posting pics on Doc’s behaf
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I am the Saint the Soldier that walks in Peace. I am the Humble dust of your feet, But dont think my Spirituality makes me weak. The Heavens will roar if my Kirpan were to speak...

prashantsingh
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Re: The maneater of Deval

Post by prashantsingh » Sat Sep 26, 2020 5:43 pm

Zaheer is out of town and could not upload the photos due to poor network
Thank you Inder for doing it.

Driving through Oak, Deodar and Cheer Pine forests of the Himalaya we reached Deval.
This was the monsoons . The worst season to hunt a maneating leopard.
Corn in the fields and thick lantana undergrowth gives the leopard the perfect hiding place it needs
_"Had it not been for its tail. leopard could well hide behind a leaf". An old Shikari once told me.
Devoid of thick jungle . This was perfect leopard habitat.
We also had to deal with insects , mosquitoes , snakes and bicchubooti (a wild plant which causes severe itching on the skin ).

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Re: The maneater of Deval

Post by miroflex » Sat Sep 26, 2020 6:02 pm

Fortunately, an antidote to bichhubooti, another wild plant locally called palak, grows near it. Snakes are a different matter.
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prashantsingh
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Re: The maneater of Deval

Post by prashantsingh » Sat Sep 26, 2020 6:04 pm

I was issued the permit at 10 am on 15 August (Independence Day and a holiday for me) .
By the time we packed up and hit the road it was afternoon.
By the time we reached Tehri it was 5pm. I was greeted by a young and enthusiastic lady Range Officer. She had joined the Department a couple of years ago and shared with me all the information she had collected ever since the attack had taken place .
She showed me pug marks of a large male leopard which she had photographed and a CCTV footage which was taken from the Shiva Temple
The pug marks had been taken 100 yards away from the spot where the girl had been killed .
After collecting all the info . We resumed our journey to Ground Zero . The maneater's domain.
It was dusk when we reached the spot
A Forest Guard was frantically blowing a whistle standing on a road head leading to the village . The whistle was an indicator for people to leave whatever they were doing and rush back home
Dusk to Dawn .......is the time when the maneater is most active.
Any one left behind could fall victim to the killer .
Last edited by prashantsingh on Sat Sep 26, 2020 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The maneater of Deval

Post by prashantsingh » Sat Sep 26, 2020 6:16 pm

Yes microflex.
But the antidote still takes some time before it starts working .
By the end of the hunt . My feet were all bruised with bites of insects of all shapes and sizes and even after a month I still carry the marks . Haven't healed completely .
Covid 19 was another issue we had to deal with.
Five people living in one small room . Zaheer and i on a bed and three forest guards on the floor of a small room fit for a single person.
By the time we moved our weapons and stuff into the room it was dark
I walked out of the room and found a virtual curfew in the area.
Everyone had locked themselves inside their houses .
Houses in these villages do not have attached toilets . The toilets are built a short distance away from the residential complex. Anyone who had to answer natures call in the night was under a serious threat of the maneater's attack.

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Re: The maneater of Deval

Post by kanwar76 » Sat Sep 26, 2020 7:36 pm

Nice Doc, you should write a book about all your adventures
I am the Saint the Soldier that walks in Peace. I am the Humble dust of your feet, But dont think my Spirituality makes me weak. The Heavens will roar if my Kirpan were to speak...

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Re: The maneater of Deval

Post by drag73 » Sat Sep 26, 2020 8:28 pm

(y) Quite an adventures you folks had. It reminds of reading the book "Maneaters of Kumaun" by Jim Corbett during my childhood. (y)

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Re: The maneater of Deval

Post by prashantsingh » Sat Sep 26, 2020 8:54 pm

Thank you Inder and Vikram for attaching the photos and the CCTV footage
I shall trouble you more as the story progresses.
timmy . I always look forwards to your comment.

This CCTV footage was taken from a camera installed at the Shiva Temple. If you watch the CCTV footage a few times . You will observe that the leopard's gait is not smooth. There appears to be a slight defect in the left shoulder. Its not the regular smooth catwalk of a healthy animal.
The temple was in the middle of the village . An injured anima bold enough to venture into human habitationl. I was quite sure this was the killer.
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I always make it a point to collect my own information . So, the first thing I did was visit the victim (a young girl's house). A week had passed . Yet the parents were in no position to talk. The Chacha (victim's father's younger brother) came forward and narrated the story.
The Chacha and mother were sitting outside the house. It was dusk. The girl had spent the entire day at her cousin's place since it was Rakshabandhan. The cousin lived 40 yards downhill . The little girl was returning home and out of nowhere a leopard came on to the mule track , and in full view of the girl's mother , uncle and cousin . Carried the girl away.
The mother fainted
The uncle raised an alarm. Villagers armed with Lathis (sticks) came out and followed the animal. The abandoned the kill and ran away.
The uncle (Chacha) had the presence of mind to click a couple of photographs of the pug marks with his mobile camera.
As they followed the blood trail . They came upon the girls body. The deep canine markings on the neck had killed the girl almost instantly.
But when I saw the photos of the pug marks I was shocked
The pug marks were that of a female and not a male
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Re: The maneater of Deval

Post by Mr.Shome » Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:32 am

prashantsingh wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 8:54 pm
Thank you Inder and Vikram for attaching the photos and the CCTV footage
I shall trouble you more as the story progresses.
timmy . I always look forwards to your comment.

This CCTV footage was taken from a camera installed at the Shiva Temple. If you watch the CCTV footage a few times . You will observe that the leopard's gait is not smooth. There appears to be a slight defect in the left shoulder. Its not the regular smooth catwalk of a healthy animal.
The temple was in the middle of the village . An injured anima bold enough to venture into human habitationl. I was quite sure this was the killer.

I always make it a point to collect my own information . So, the first thing I did was visit the victim (a young girl's house). A week had passed . Yet the parents were in no position to talk. The Chacha (victim's father's younger brother) came forward and narrated the story.
The Chacha and mother were sitting outside the house. It was dusk. The girl had spent the entire day at her cousin's place since it was Rakshabandhan. The cousin lived 40 yards downhill . The little girl was returning home and out of nowhere a leopard came on to the mule track , and in full view of the girl's mother , uncle and cousin . Carried the girl away.
The mother fainted
The uncle raised an alarm. Villagers armed with Lathis (sticks) came out and followed the animal. The abandoned the kill and ran away.
The uncle (Chacha) had the presence of mind to click a couple of photographs of the pug marks with his mobile camera.
As they followed the blood trail . They came upon the girls body. The deep canine markings on the neck had killed the girl almost instantly.
But when I saw the photos of the pug marks I was shocked
The pug marks were that of a female and not a male
prashantsingh wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 8:54 pm
Thank you Inder and Vikram for attaching the photos and the CCTV footage
I shall trouble you more as the story progresses.
timmy . I always look forwards to your comment.

This CCTV footage was taken from a camera installed at the Shiva Temple. If you watch the CCTV footage a few times . You will observe that the leopard's gait is not smooth. There appears to be a slight defect in the left shoulder. Its not the regular smooth catwalk of a healthy animal.
The temple was in the middle of the village . An injured anima bold enough to venture into human habitationl. I was quite sure this was the killer.

I always make it a point to collect my own information . So, the first thing I did was visit the victim (a young girl's house). A week had passed . Yet the parents were in no position to talk. The Chacha (victim's father's younger brother) came forward and narrated the story.
The Chacha and mother were sitting outside the house. It was dusk. The girl had spent the entire day at her cousin's place since it was Rakshabandhan. The cousin lived 40 yards downhill . The little girl was returning home and out of nowhere a leopard came on to the mule track , and in full view of the girl's mother , uncle and cousin . Carried the girl away.
The mother fainted
The uncle raised an alarm. Villagers armed with Lathis (sticks) came out and followed the animal. The abandoned the kill and ran away.
The uncle (Chacha) had the presence of mind to click a couple of photographs of the pug marks with his mobile camera.
As they followed the blood trail . They came upon the girls body. The deep canine markings on the neck had killed the girl almost instantly.
But when I saw the photos of the pug marks I was shocked
The pug marks were that of a female and not a male
Apologies, if my message doesn't goes through due to some technical difficulties with my phone.

Anyway, just wanted to say that Doc. Saab, you are priceless, I mean, you are keeping alive a legacy and rendering priceless service, while remaining like a connecting bridge between what wildlife enthusiasts read in books (intangible past) and actually what it actually entails today.

Your account so far brought back many memories of respected Corbett, Anderson and his son.

Eagerly awaiting further details.

Warm regards.

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Re: The maneater of Deval

Post by prashantsingh » Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:06 am

There was a light drizzle in the night
Walking in the morning I came across pug marks of the big cat on the mule track , I traced the pug mark with Plaster of Paris (third and forth photo) and made a model The pug mark was that of the female. She had again ventured into the village after the rain had stopped .Fortunately everyone had stayed indoor and an attack had been avoided I was now quite sure the female was the culprit.
If you study the shape of the pug marks you can easily make out the difference between a male and a female, In general terms . If we draw a box around the pug mark . A male big cat's pug mark falls in a square form. A female's falls in a rectangular form (second photo). Basically the females pug mark is narrower than the males as can be seen in the photos above
To clear the confusion I called up the range officer to get the details of where she had photographed the male's pug marks. The range officer told me that she had received a call late at night. Had reached the spot early next morning and photographed the pug marks 100 yards uphill , from the spot where the girl was killed. I asked if she had photos of the pug marks from the exact spot where the victim had been killed. She said no. She had searched the area extensively and got nothing. Whatever pug marks were there (if at all) had been trampled upon by the villagers who had come to rescue the girl.
I shared with her the evidence I had collected till now and told her that there were two leopards in the area. A big male and a female. But the conflict animal was not the male . It was the female with an injured shoulder .
A day later I realised that there were not two but three leopards in the area. A cow killed and eaten 2 kms away confirmed the presence of a third leopard within an area of a few square kilometers.
Our job was to identify and trap / eliminatel the killer before it made another human kill.
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Re: The maneater of Deval

Post by Vishnu2017 » Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:14 am

Respected prashantsingh sir,
Thanks for sharing your experiences , your experiences reminds me reading the book "Maneaters of Kumaun" by Jim Corbett , my request you should write a book about your experiences, am eagerly waiting for your next post
DECIDE, COMMIT, SUCCEED (y) :D

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