Leopard - Leopards and Humans - Man-eating


Most leopards avoid people, but humans may occasionally be targeted as prey. Most healthy leopards prefer wild prey to humans, but injured, sickly, or struggling cats or those with a shortage of regular prey may resort to hunting humans and become habituated to it. Although usually slightly smaller than a human, an adult leopard is much more powerful and easily capable of killing them. Two extreme cases occurred in India: the first leopard, "the Leopard of Rudraprayag", may have killed more than 125 people; the second, the "Panar Leopard", was believed to have killed more than 400, after injury by a poacher made it unable to hunt normal prey. Both were killed by hunter Jim Corbett. Man-eating leopards are considered bold and difficult to track by feline standards and may enter human settlements for prey, more so than lions and tigers. Author and big game hunter Kenneth Anderson had first-hand experience with many man-eating leopards, and described them as far more threatening than tigers:

Although examples of such animals are comparatively rare, when they do occur they depict the panther as an engine of destruction quite equal to his far larger cousin, the tiger. Because of his smaller size he can conceal himself in places impossible to a tiger, his need for water is far less, and in veritable demoniac cunning and daring, coupled with the uncanny sense of self preservation and stealthy disappearance when danger threatens, he has no equal. —Kenneth Anderson, Nine Man-Eaters and One Rogue, Chapter II "The Spotted Devil of Gummalapur""

In July 2012, two people were killed by leopards in separate attacks in distant parts of India.

  • Road sign in Namibia

  • A mosaic depicting Dionysus on a leopard. 4th century BC. Pella, Greece.

  • Coat of arms of the German state of Baden-Württemberg

  • A female leopard in the Sabi Sands of South Africa near a game vehicle

  • The Panar Leopard, shot by Jim Corbett in 1910 after killing 400 people

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