Dahod: A 64-year-old woman was killed Monday by a leopard on the prowl in Vasiya Dungri forest range in Gujarat's Dahod district, the third such incident involving the big cat in the region in last five days, officials said.

The incident occurred when Mathuriben Ganava was collecting wood in the forest near Bhanpur village in Dhanpur taluka, a senior Forest official said.

Meanwhile, Devgadhbaria MLA Bachubhai Khabad claimed that the state forest department has granted a permission to Forest officials to shoot down the leopard on his request.

However, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) A K Saxena said he was not aware about this.

Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF), Dahod, J L Zala said the Forest department has stepped up its efforts to trap the roaming big cat.

"One Mathuriben Ganava (64) was attacked and killed by the leopard Monday morning when she was picking wood in the Vasiya Dungri forest area near Bhanpur village. This is the third such incident in the area within a week," Zala said.

He said the same feline had killed two girls on two successive days last week.

"This leopard has the tendency to roam within the 5-km periphery in a triangular shift," the DCF said.

Asmita Pasaya (10), who hailed from Dumka village in Dhanpur taluka, and Jyotsna Parmar (11), a resident of Khalta village, were killed by the big cat on Wednesday and Thursday last week, respectively.

Meanwhile, the MLA said the forest department couldn't capture the feline despite efforts.

"This leopard is killing people in the area. I have sought permission from the state government to (allow Forest officials to) shoot down the leopard, which has been granted," he claimed.

However, PCCF A K Saxena said he had no knowledge about it.

The forest department has set up nine cages to capture the leopard and deployed around 150 personnel for patrolling.

The residents of villages abutting the forest are living in fear due to three consecutive attacks.

The Forest department has issued an advisory appealing to children and older women not to venture into the forest until the leopard is trapped.