KATHMANDU, Nov 1: Nepal offered a bounty on Thursday for anyone who could hunt down a leopard that has killed more than a dozen people in the past year in the country´s remote western region.
The 25,000-rupee ($300) prize, several months´ wages for the average Nepali, will go to anyone who can bring in the animal dead or alive, after more than 100 police and soldiers failed to capture it.
"In the beginning, we wanted to capture it alive. But the security personnel who returned from the search said that thousands of villagers have been terrorised," said Hariraj Bista, a local government official in Baitadi district.
Villagers were scared to venture out of their homes after dark in the leopard´s hunting ground on the banks of the Mahakali river, Bista said.
"Therefore, we have offered this bounty to encourage local hunters to either kill it or capture it alive," he added.
The sparsely-populated mountainous area where the attacks have taken place is covered with thick forest separating around a dozen villages.
Most of Nepal´s leopards are found on the sub-equatorial plains of the southern Terai and in forested hill regions, where contact with humans is a regular problem.