TT, Alipurduar, April 19: Two leopards died from poisoning in Dalgaon range of Jalpaiguri forest division in the past two days, post-mortem reports showed.
According to sources, a male leopard and a female had been found dead in the Dalgaon forest on Monday and yesterday. Both the carcasses were found on the same spot in section 44 of Birpara Tea Estate.
Foresters suspect some residents of the estate had mixed poison in the carcass of a cow which was consumed by both the leopards.
"Both the leopards stayed in the tea estate drains and used to lift hens, goats or calves from labour lines. The labourers worried about their cattle might have poisoned the carcass of the cow to kill the big cats," a source said.
Veterinary doctors conducted post-mortem on the carcasses of the leopards and also examined the carcass of the cow. "The vets could spot poison in the carcasses of the leopards and the cow. Forest officers suspects that someone had poisoned the cow carcass as they knew that leopards would eat its flesh," the source said.
Bidyut Sarkar, the divisional forest officer of Jalpaiguri forest division, said: "We have got the names of the accused persons. We can confirm that poison was mixed in the flesh of the cow intentionally so that leopards that eat the flesh could die. We cannot disclose the names of the accused. An FIR had been lodged at Falakata police station against the accused under the Wildlife Protection Act."
The foresters are worried that residents of other tea gardens could also adopt this method to get rid of leopards which stray into their habitat and maul residents and attack cattle.
Rishi Malhotra, the senior manager of Birpara tea garden, said: "We are very much worried. Police will find out the culprits and we will extend all kind of help to them."
The estate is under Falakata police station of Alipurduar district.