A leopard killed a one-and-a-half-year-old child in Uttarakhand’s Almora district on Monday evening, in the fourth such attack by big cats in the state since April end, said forest officials.

Sanchita Verma, range officer of Almora forest range, said the child was attacked by the leopard outside his house in Udal village in Almora district.

“The boy Harshit was playing in the ground near his house when the leopard suddenly pounced on him and dragged him towards the forest area. His body was later recovered from the nearby bushes 800 meters away from the house,” Verma said.

“We rushed to the spot on getting information from the villagers about the incident. We are now planning to set up cages and camera traps near the place where the incident took place to catch the leopard,” she said.

Verma said the body of the boy was handed over to his relatives later in the evening.

“The victim’s family will be sanctioned Rs 3 lakh as ex gratia from the state forest department. So far a cheque of Rs 50,000 has been provided to his family members,” said Praveen Kumar, conservator of forest, northern circle Kumaon.

On June 29, a 12-year-old girl in Chamoli district was killed in a leopard attack while she was working with her mother on the local farm. On June 23, a 54-year-old woman was mauled to death by a leopard in Nainital district.

A teenage girl, who was listening to music on her headphones, was attacked and mauled to death by a leopard in Ramnagar area of Nainital district on June 7. On April 29, a 42-year-old man was killed by a leopard in Almora district.

Meanwhile, state forest officials arrested one person in Sitarganj area of US Nagar district on Monday and recovered 1.5 kg turtle meat from his possession.

“We received a tip-off that wildlife smugglers were selling turtle meat. Later we came to know that turtle meat was being cooked at a house in Ratan Farm area in Sitarganj under Terai East forest division,” Shivraj Singh, the sub-divisional forest officer, said.

“A forest team raided Manoj Mandal’s house in Ratan Farm area in Sitarganj and recovered 1.5 kg turtle meat from the house,” he said.

Singh said during the preliminary investigation they found that Manoj had allegedly hunted the turtle from forest adjoining in his village.

“We have booked him under Section 9, (no person shall hunt any wildlife listed in the schedule 1,2,3,4) and other relevant sections of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972,” he said.