Drinking carries with it all kinds of risks, but in the Didihat region in northern India, partying locals also have to worry about being eaten by a leopard.
In several remote villages in the Himalayas, 13 people have been attacked and killed by a leopard since 2012. Locals claim that many of the victims were intoxicated, and made for easy targets since they were out alone at night and appeared weak and unsteady.
The leopard, which authorities say has a “taste for drunkards,” has not been captured or killed, and last took a victim in September 2014. Four people have also been injured by the leopard, according to The Times of India.
In an interview with the Telegraph, local villager Madan Panerua said the leopard attacks have struck a chord of fear throughout the village. “People carry sticks with them and remain alert all the time,” Panerua said. “Many in the village believe that drunk people are easy prey for the wild.”
Belinda Wright of the Wildlife Protection Society of India is careful to state that the animal is not necessarily targeting victims because they are drunk, but because their behavior while intoxicated makes them easy prey. “I’m sure you won’t taste any better because you’ve consumed liquor,” Wright said.
Like many animals who attack humans, experts believe the leopard in the Didihat region is attacking people because it can no longer hunt wild or domesticated animals. The animal has been declared a threat by local officials, but repeated attempts to kill it have failed.
Meanwhile, locals have toned down their late-night boozing as a result of the attacks, returning home before dark and staying in, making this leopard not only a man eater, but a total buzz-kill as well.