Forest Department officials arrested five persons here on Friday on charge of trapping and killing a leopard and eating its meat. Mankulam DFO Suhaib said the incident occurred on Wednesday morning. The accused are Mankulam residents Vinod P.K., 45; V.P. Kuriakose, 74; C.S. Binu, 50; Sali Kunjappan, 54; and Vincent, 50. They had set a trap in a private land near the forest at Munipara, Mankulam.
The male leopard, around 6 years old, was trapped on Wednesday morning. They took the animal to Vinod’s house, killed it, and cooked the meat, Mr. Suhaib said. The teeth and skin were found inside the house. “We arrested them following a tip-off,” he said.
Vinod had set the trap and Kuriakose helped him, he added. The other accused joined them in eating the meat.
10 kg meat recovered
Mankulam range officer V.B. Udaya Suryan led the team and arrested all within four hours of receiving the information.
The officials recovered nearly 10 kg of meat from the house, said Mr. Suhaib.
Leopard is listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The crime can fetch seven-year imprisonment, said an official. This is the first such reported incident in Kerala.