Chhindwara (MP), Jan 10 (PTI) A leopard mauled to death three children in different villages of Chhindwara district and ate one of them, an official said today.

Panic gripped the villages, all located in the fringe area of the district’s forest range, following the incidents in the last three days.

“A leopard mauled to death a 12-year-old boy in Jhirpani village last night and ate half of the body,” said divisional forest officer S S Udde.

The feline also attacked a three-year-old girl on Sunday when she was out with her mother and sister to collect firewood in Mohlimata village.

The same day, the leopard attacked a 10-year-old boy in Bijauli Pathar village when he was playing at his home and dragged him for about 100 metres.

“Both the children died after suffering critical injuries,” Udde said.

“The forest department would provide compensation to the families of the deceased children,” he said.

A search operation has been launched to trace the leopard in which personnel from the adjoining forest range are also participating.

“Over 500 forest personnel have been pressed into the search operation in Tamia forest range of the district. The forest department has installed about a dozen cameras to trace the leopard,” he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.