Forest officials looking for cheetah mistaken as cattle thieves; attacked
Bhopal, May 26 (IANS) The officials of Kuno National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh's Sheopur district -- mistaken as cattle thieves -- were attacked by some villagers when they were looking for a female cheetah 'Asha' who moved out of the protected area, an official said on Friday.
The team was following inputs of a GPS device attached to Asha's neck to locate her.
A Forest Department official said the incident occurred late on Thursday when the team was tracking Asha's location in Burakheda village. At least four officials were injured.
A senior forest official at KNP told IANS the villagers suspected the members of the team to be cattle thieves as such thefts take place frequently in the area.
The forest official said on noticing the KNP team's presence in the late night hours and a vehicle in the darkness, the villagers suspected that they were cattle thieves.
"The villagers first fired in the air as a warning. However, when the team did not leave, the villagers pelted stones and also physically attacked the team members," the official said.
P.K. Verma, the divisional forest officer of Kuno, condemned the attack on the Forest team, and also highlighted the challenges faced by conservation teams.