A four-year-old girl was mauled to death by a wild leopard at her brother’s birthday party in northern India.
Ada Yasir Mir was walking in her family’s garden near the city of Srinagar when the animal dragged her away on Thursday – leaving behind only a doll she had been carrying.
Minutes earlier, Ada, dressed in a Barbie dress and a crown, had been calling her family to cut her brother Ali’s birthday cake.
On Friday, after her family searched for Ada for hours, the girl’s body parts were found in a nearby forest.
Ada Yasir Mir was walking in her family’s garden near the city of Srinagar when the animal dragged her away on Thursday – leaving behind only a doll she had been carrying
The girl was mauled to death by a leopard at her brother’s birthday party in northern India (file photo)
‘Ada had returned from her maternal family home as it was her brother Ali’s seventh birthday,’ her uncle Aijaj Ahmed told NDTV.
‘She went upstairs and took out her favourite ‘Barbie dress’ for the occasion and wore a princess crown before stepping into the garden to ask her grandfather to finish his tea as they had to cut the cake,’ Mr Ahmed said.
But moments later, the family heard Ada’s piercing screams before running outside to find no sign of her.
Local residents have said they warned wildlife officials that a few leopards were seen in the local area – but claim ‘nothing’ was done.
Sana Fazili, who lives in the local area, said the authorities ‘did nothing despite being alerted by the locals since February this year’.
Mr Ahmed said that the wild animals had been caught on camera in their neigbourhood, which is next to a 20-acre nursery.
‘The purpose of the nursery was to grow saplings which could be later planted in the forest area,’ he said. ‘But they have not maintained the nursery and it has virtually turned into a forest.
‘After her death, they started pruning trees and clearing the bushes which they should have done over the years.
‘We feel the death of the child is the outcome of the Forest Department’s actions. This nursery is surrounded by human habitation and there are wild animals roaming freely in the nursery.’
Dozens of mourners gathered outside the girl’s home at the weekend to express their condolences to the grieving family
Dozens of mourners gathered outside the girl’s home at the weekend to express their condolences to the grieving family.
‘She was an extraordinary girl, always bubbly and with a smile. But what happened to her should not happen to anyone,’ Mr Ahmed said.
Paying tribute to Ada, Ms Fazili tweeted: ‘Adaa rani, she would call herself. Can’t forget the sound of her laughter and her running around. What a tragedy.’ She had earlier tweeted a video of Ada dancing and singing.
Ms Fazili had earlier tweeted: ‘Her body has been found. She did not deserve this. This apple of our eyes did not deserve this.’
Delhi Public School, where Ada was a pupil, said in a statement: ‘We are heartbroken by the suffering and loss of the little one and we stand with the family in grief and solidarity. We pray for the eternal peace of the departed soul and healing for those who she left behind shattered and inconsolable.’
Rashid Naqash, the Regional Wildlife Warden in Kashmir, said his department was not to blame for the death.
‘We have repeatedly raised the issue of the nursery and the presence of wild animals with the Forest Department over the last four years after the first sighting of a leopard there,’ Mr Naqash told PTI.
‘We launched a vigorous house-to-house campaign to educate people about the threat and preventive measures needed to be taken for their safety. We asked them not to allow children outside their homes, especially at dawn and after dusk,’ the official said.
Mr Nagash also said the victim’s house is near the nursery and their is no secure fencing separating the two areas.
‘The household has rabbits and poultry, and the girl was attacked when she was moving alone at dusk,’ he said.