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Monk Meditates in Tiger Reserve, Gets Killed by Leopard

Not a great choice of locale
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2018 8:34 AM CST
A female leopard sits inside a snow covered enclosure at Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary, outskirts of Srinagar, India, in 2014.   (AP Photo/Dar Yasin, File)

(Newser) – A Buddhist monk’s monthlong forest meditation was interrupted in a most horrid way Wednesday in India. Rahul Walke, 35, was meditating under a tree in Maharashtra’s Ramdegi forest, home to a Buddhist temple and a protected tiger reserve, when a leopard attacked, reports the Times of India. A fellow monk bringing food to Walke witnessed the attack and ran for help, but returned with others to find the monk dead. The BBC describes the meditation spot as “quite far away” from the temple, which is surrounded by solar fencing to deter predators like tigers, leopards, sloth bears, and hyenas. Per AFP, there have been four area deaths attributed to tigers and leopards this month, including the Monday killing of a shopkeeper whose stall sits on the edge of the forest.

Gajendra Narawane of the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve says officials warned monks that wild animals were in the area. "But, unfortunately, before the monk could leave the place, the incident occurred," he tells the Times. "I would like to tell everyone not to go inside the forest," he adds, per the BBC. A police officer says Walke's "badly mauled body was found further into the forest, indicating the animal tried to drag it along," per AFP. Officials are trying to capture the leopard, though it’s unclear if it will be euthanized. "We have set up two cages and a camera trap, and we will try to tranquilize the animal," says Narawane. Per the BBC, state officials have pledged to give nearly $17,000 to Walke's family. (A cougar likely killed a hiker in an "unprecedented event" in Oregon.)

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