Bengaluru: A man was forced to strangle and kill a leopard in Karnataka’s Hassan district when the animal attacked him and his family. According to local reports, Rajagopal Naik, a resident of Bendekere village in Arasikere taluk, around 180 km from Bengaluru, was riding his motorbike back home with his wife and child when the leopard came out of nowhere and leapt at them from behind the bushes. Also Read - CM Yediyurappa Rules Out Imposing Lockdown in Karnataka Now, Calls All-party Meet on April 18

The leopard bit the child’s leg and tried to attack his wife when Rajagopal showed his bravery and grabbed the animal by its neck and hit it on the head. During the fight off, the leopard tried to break free and swiped at Rajagopal once, but he did not let go of the hold around its neck. Rajagopal grabbed the leopard’s neck tighter out of survival and it eventually died of suffocation. Also Read - Karnataka: Not In Position to Impose Complete Lockdown in State, Says Health Minister Sudhakar

Rajagopal suffered several injuries on his face and forehead in the fight. Within seconds, a huge mob gathered around him as he sat next to the corpse of the leopard. Also Read - COVID-19: Karnataka to Go Ahead With University Exams, Academic Activities, Says Deputy CM

A video showing the slain leopard went viral on social media platforms. Netizens hailed Rajagopal as the ‘real-life George Kutty’, based on the character from Drishyam 2.

Deputy Conservator of Forest (Hassan division) K.N. Basavaraj told IANS that the leopard was killed when it attacked a family of husband, wife and daughter, who were travelling on a bike.

“The leopard pounced at them from behind the bushes, along a Bendekere village road, forcing them to fall off their bike and caught the woman’s leg. Fearing for their life, both man and his daughter raised an alarm, villagers working in nearby fields immediately gathered and attacked the leopard and killed it,” he said.

The DCF further added that the slain leopard had earlier attacked a mother and a son in the Bhovi colony of Byragondanahalli which is just five km away from Bendekere.

Notably, this hamlet also shares its boundary with the Tumkuru district, which has seen the highest number of leopard attacks in the recent past.

“This leopard had attacked mother and son on Monday and after this incident came to light, the forest department had laid nets and traps to capture this animal. During this process, it had attacked our veterinary doctor too, when he was taking aim at the creature to capture it alive. After attacking our doctor it managed to escape,” he explained.

According to him, the leopard was perhaps hungry, tired, thirsty and weak as it was being tracked for the past few days. It had been on the run due. This may have made it difficult to escape the mob and succumbed to injuries.

“Prima facie investigations reveal that the leopard had been attacked with sickle also as there were two or three cut marks visible on its body. We are yet to receive an autopsy report and the real cause of death can only be ascertained based on this report,” he reasoned in response to a question.

The forest department has registered a case and further investigation is on.