A woman in northern India, who was armed with only basic farm tools, has somehow managed to fight off and kill a leopard that pounced on her as she was carrying water. Kamla Devi, 56, said she fought with the animal for more than half an hour using a sickle.
“I thought I was dead but I did not lose patience and courage,” she told reporters from the hospital bed where she was being treated for multiple bites and fractures.
Reports said the animal attacked Ms Devi as she was carrying water from a canal to her home in the Rudraprayag district in the state of Uttarakhand on Sunday. She then began to hit the animal and smashed some of its teeth.
Ms Devi said she had continued to pound at the animal until she became exhausted. She then limped bleeding to the nearest village. Villagers who then went to the scene of the attack found the body of the leopard.
Doctors said Ms Devi had two fractures on the right hand and one break in the left. There were injuries to her head and legs and she required up to 50 stitches.
Leopard attacks in this part of northern India are not rare; what is uncommon is for somebody to survive such an assault. The case of a person killing a leopard with their bare hands and a simple sickle may be unprecedented.
Pankaj Bist, one of the villagers who helped take Ms Devi to the HNB Base Hospital, told the BBC: “It was around 10 in the morning when she went to the field. A leopard pounced on her."
He added: “She is very brave. She attacked the leopard and took the fight head on with her sickle.”
In the past week, leopards have killed one woman elsewhere in Uttarakhand, and injured another in the Rudraprayag area. Villagers say leopards are now more visible around human settlements as the big cats’ habitat is increasingly encroached upon.