Leopard cubs rescued and reunited with their mother from sugarcane field in Nashik
Nashik witnessed a wild family reunion on Monday when three leopard cubs were rescued and returned to their mother from a sugarcane field. This was made possible by the Wildlife SOS team from the Manikdoh leopard rescue centre and the Maharashtra Forest Department (FD).
The local farmers stumbled upon the tiny cubs huddled together amidst the dense sugarcane fields while harvesting the crop in Brahmanwada village in Nifad taluka.
Initial attempts fail
Accustomed to catching occasional glimpses of leopards around the area, the farmers immediately reported the incident to FD. The cubs, identified as one male and two females, were estimated to be about 20 days old and found to be in good health. Initial attempts made to reunite them with their mother failed, as she didn’t show up.
Sanjay Bhandari, the range forest officer asked the Wildlife SOS team for their assistance. The Wildlife SOS group rushed to their aid and following a quick assessment of the situation, senior veterinarian Dr. Ajay Deshmukh and his team arranged for the three cubs to be returned to the field where they were found.
They were carefully placed in a safe box and the team installed a remote-controlled camera trap to document the cubs and the reunion, while monitoring the area from a distance. After a long wait, they saw a female leopard cautiously emerge from the forest. She checked her cubs and carefully carried them into the forest by the scruff of their necks.
Sanjay Bhandari, range forest officer said, “Initially, the villagers were apprehensive and insisted that we take the cubs away from the area. However, they were more understanding of the situation upon realizing that this would only incur the wrath of the mother leopard who is looking for her missing cubs.”
Dr. Deshmukh said, “It is not uncommon to spot leopards in this area, as there are several sugarcane fields that provide a safe cover and a suitable shelter for giving birth and rearing cubs. But this also gives rise to conflict situations, especially during the harvest season. Therefore, we try our best to reunite missing cubs with their mother to avoid instances of man-leopard conflict.”
Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO, Wildlife SOS said, “We’d like to ensure that leopard cubs that get separated from their mothers don’t end up in captivity. We want them living freely in their natural habitat.”
3: No. of leopard cubs that were rescued