Three days after a frail 4-month-old leopard was found abandoned in a little hut in Palghar, the cub died yesterday at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), where it was brought for treatment. According to the park officials, the cub succumbed to extreme weakness and prolonged starvation.
Forest officials had rescued the young leopard and brought it to SGNP in the hope of providing treatment and eventually reuniting it with its mother. SGNP Veterinary Officer Shailesh Pethe said, “A female leopard cub, aged around 3 to 4 months old, was brought to SGNP on Sunday night. The cub was in a highly debilitated state, with lack of muscle and fat mass, probably due to prolonged starvation and stress. The blood tests revealed very low haemoglobin and cell counts. The liver functions were found to be depressed. The prognosis was found to be poor to grave. We tried our level best, but the cub died on Tuesday at 9 am.”
The cub was discovered on Saturday morning, hiding in a vacant hut adjacent to a house in Kandipada, near Acchad in the neighbouring Palghar district. A villager spotted the animal and reported the sighting to the forest department after he noticed that the cub was barely moving.
The leopard was then rescued by the FD with the help of a local NGO. Locals said they had also seen a female leopard roaming in the same area with another cub, so officials set up camera traps to see if she would come back to search for the rescued cub. The members of the rescue team told mid-day that even though the cub was just four months old, it was very aggressive and the authorities had to plan its rescue properly.
On Sunday night, the leopard was brought to the park. Sources from the park said, “The cub was very thin. Because of this, it was not responding positively to the treatment. It also had a very low blood count. We feel sorry that despite all the efforts taken by us, we were unable to save him.” The authorities will conduct the post-mortem today to confirm the cause of death and the report will be available by Saturday.
A month before the cub was found, a local was attacked by a leopard near Talasari in Palghar district. The injured villager was identified as Dhansukh Dhodi (40), who had gone to catch fresh water fish in a nearby river on August 31, when he was attacked. Forest officials trapped an 8-year-old female leopard a week later, on September 6.