NEW DELHI — The fight is said to have lasted half an hour and pitted a leopard against a woman armed only with farm tools in an isolated field in India.
Kalama Devi, a 54-year-old widow, won.
The mother-of-one has been telling her story from a hospital bed in Srinagar, in Uttarakhand State, where she’s being treated for fractures, swelling, scratches and cuts to her skull that have required 50 stitches.
“I held the leopard with my hands, it then bit my hand and then left it… both my hands are in immense pain and I am not able to lift them up,” she said.
According to the doctor who’s treating her, the leopard pounced about 10 a.m. local time on Sunday morning as Devi walked through a field in the village of Koti Badma in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand.
It fractured her left hand first, so with her right hand clutching a sickle she repeatedly hit the animal — for half an hour.
Exhausted and bleeding
She said she kept pounding the leopard until she ran out of energy, then, exhausted and bleeding, limped one kilometer to a nearby village to seek help, Dr. Abdul Rahul at the H.N.B Base Hospital told CNN.
Villagers found the leopard dead when they went to the scene of the reported attack, the doctor said.
It’s not the first leopard attack in the area, Rahul said, though he added it was more common to see injuries as the result of attacks by bears.
Another woman was recently killed by a young male cat, which was shot dead by hunters, according to Digvijay Khati, Chief Wildlife Warden in Uttarakhand.
“These are alarming incidents because usually leopards attack and kill dogs, goats or young children — not adults,” Khati told CNN.
He said the leopards’ natural habitat was shrinking, and their natural prey was becoming scarce.
“We cannot say that the increase of human population in the areas is responsible, because attacks have even occurred where human population is less, and people are now moving out to plains in search of work,” he said.