The sound of a roaring leopard would usually make you run in the opposite direction, but not for a villager from Ghodbunder who found two leopards stuck in a 22-foot deep pit. Without any hesitation, the villager rescued the two cubs with a ladder before forest officials could even reach the spot.
The incident occurred on Tuesday around 9.30 am, when a few workers were preparing a cricket pitch at Adivasi Pada near Ghodbunder Fort.
While working, the labourers heard cries of the wild cats and soon realised they were emerging from a 22-foot deep pit that was near the cricket pitch.
Within minutes, the news of the cubs being stuck in the pit spread like wildfire and around 400 villagers gathered around the spot. One of the villagers even called up the control room at Sanjay Gandhi National Park for assistance. In the meantime, a few villagers began provoking the cubs and realising that this could spell trouble, Chandrakant, one of the villagers quickly drew up a plan to rescue the trapped cubs.
With the help of three other villagers, he lowered a ladder down the pit to allow the cubs to climb out. “We have been staying in the area for many years and leopard sightings are common. We have seen the animal quite often at night, but it has never attacked any of us. When I came here today, I saw that a few people in the crowd were trying to provoke the cubs. In an attempt to avoid a man-animal conflict, I decided to lower a ladder into the concrete pit. Soon after the ladder was lowered, both the animals climbed out and vanished into the nearby bushes,” said Chandrakant.
An eyewitness even claimed that one of the cubs was limping while it walked.
When MiD DAY contacted SGNP, Dr Sanjeev Pinjarkar said, “Around 10 am, we received a call that two leopard cubs had fallen into a pit near Ghodbunder Fort. Immediately, we dispatched our rescue team along with volunteers from Mumbaikars for SGNP. However, by the time we reached the spot at 11.15 am, both the leopards had been rescued and had vanished into the bushes.”