A leopard that had wound up in a poacher’s wire trap near Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary (PWS), Murud in Alibaug was granted freedom on Thursday after officials rescued the animal.
The rescue operations began after residents of Vavdung village near Murud noticed the leopard trapped. They immediately rushed to the Range Forest Officer (RFO) of PWS and apprised them of the incident. What followed was six hours of drama, which culminated with the leopard being freed.
The villagers spot the wild cat caught in a poacher’s trap and see it writhing in pain. They immediately rush to inform wildlife officials.
The RFO and his team visit the spot where the leopard is trapped and make a quick assessment. RFO CN Gavan said, “As we don’t have any experience in rescuing leopards, we took the decision to call the higher authorities -- the specialised team from Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
The SGNP rescue team receives a call after which a squad headed by Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) Santosh Saste, Veterinary Doctor Sanjiv Pinjarkar, Rescue Team Member Santosh Pagare, Raja Bhoir, Jhirve and Sachin Patil leave for Alibaug.
The SGNP team reaches the spot and starts to examine the condition of the leopard and their strategy to rescue the wild cat.
After using darts to tranquilise the leopard, officials begin to cut the wires fastened across the feline’s body.
Finally, after six hours, the leopard is freed and taken to the Phansad animal dispensary where he is checked for any injuries. After officials confirm that no harm has been done to the animal, he is released back into the wild post midnight.