New Delhi - A 56-year-old Indian woman is recovering in hospital after killing a leopard that attacked her as she tended her fields armed only with a sickle.
The woman told Indian broadcaster CNN-IBN that she battled with the leopard for half an hour on Sunday before finally delivering a killer blow with her sickle.
“The leopard lunged at me many times and we fought for a long time,” she told the channel from her hospital bed in the northern state of Uttarakhand, her arms bandaged and a livid scar across her right cheek.
“I got hold of my sickle and fought with it. That's when the leopard was killed,” said the woman, named as Kamla Devi.
Devi, who was widowed a few years ago, told the Hindustan Times daily she was “terrified” when the leopard attacked, but was determined not to succumb.
“I gathered my courage to fight back. I promised myself that this is not my last day here,” she told the paper.
Leopard attacks are relatively common in rural areas of India, although it is rare for the leopard to come off worse.
In 2009, a nine-year-old boy in the same state fought off a leopard that had attacked his sister.
The animals are increasingly venturing into populated areas as their habitat becomes depleted.
Video footage from Mumbai last year showed a leopard creeping into an apartment block foyer and snatching a small dog.
The conservation group WWF called for better management of forests and other habitats for India's leopard population, which numbered 1 150 at a 2011 census. - AFP