Dec. 14 (UPI) — A Buddhist monk in India died after being attacked by a leopard while meditating under a tree, officials said.
The monk, identified as 35-year-old Rahul Walke, had been meditating under the tree in the Tadoba forest, located far away from the historical Buddhist temple where he resided for a month before he was attacked on Wednesday.
Gajendra Narwane, deputy director of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, said forest officials warned the monks about the presence of wild animals, including leopards, in the area and warned them to stay away.
The reserve in the east Maharashtra district is home to about 88 tigers as well as other animals, including leopards, hyenas and honey badgers.
Another monk from the same temple told the BBC he saw the leopard attacking Walke as he approached the meditation spot to bring him food Wednesday morning, but by the time he returned with help Walke was dead.
Walke’s body was recovered and state government officials said they will give his family $16,762.
Narwane added there were also plans to track down the leopard.
“We have set up two cages and a camera trap, and we will try to tranquilize the animal,” he said.
Officials cordoned off the area and installed solar fencing around the temple to ward off animals.