Mumbai: Despite best medical attention, leopard cub hit by bike dies

The cub was rescued after the accident in Goa and a neurosurgeon from KEM Hospital, Mumbai, was called to examine it, but despite efforts to save it, it died

The increasing number of wild animals getting killed while crossing the roads seems to be a worry not only for Maharashtra, but also for the neighbouring state of Goa. Despite all possible efforts, a leopard cub that was hit by a vehicle last month while crossing the road died. Mumbai-based Neurosurgeon Dr Aadil Chagla had been specially called by the veterinary doctor at the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa, to help save the cub’s life.

Dr Aadil Chagla, neurosurgeon, KEM Hospital, examines the cub with Dr Loveleen Vaz
Dr Aadil Chagla, neurosurgeon, KEM Hospital, examines the cub with Dr Loveleen Vaz

Experts feel that it’s high time that the authorities concentrate on constructing underpasses for safe passage of animals and reduce road kills.

Biologist Dr Vidya Athreya said, “There have been various incidents where wild animals and humans, both have lost lives while crossing the roads and highways that pass close to national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. The government, while planning the road itself, should also plan underpasses and subways which the wild animals and humans can both use for safely crossing the roads and highways.”

On March 2, a leopard cub was hit by a motorcycle, while it was crossing the road and according to eyewitnesses, the mother of the cub, with another cub, had already crossed the road. The incident occurred at 10 pm near Kelbaiwada-Mayem at Bicholim near the I T I Polytechnic, Goa.

The cub had suffered a head injury and become unconscious. The locals informed the Forest Department (FD) officials about the same. The team of FD officials including RFO Girish Bailudkar, Forester Anand Naik and Forest guard Echit Naik reached the spot and rescued the animal and along with driver Manthesh and a local from Bicholim, Ashish Govekar, brought it to Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary at 2 am where Dr Loveleen Vaz took charge.

The cub was put on IV drips, antibiotics and cerebral decongestants. As the animal’s condition was not improving, Dr Loveleen invited Neurosurgeon, Professor Aadil S Chagla, Chief Unit II Department of Neurosurgery, KEM Hospital, Mumbai, who had experience in canine and animal conditions.

He examined the leopard cub on March 13. He found that the animal was weaker on the right side as compared to the left.

There were some eye signs suggestive of upper brain stem injury but the lower brainstem was intact and there were prompt responses to painful stimulus.

Dr Chagla had suggested that an urgent scan be done and was hopeful that even if a small surgery needed to be done, it was possible and they could save the cub. Unfortunately the animal died on March 17 after a stay at Bondla for over two weeks.

A doctor for the cub
“It is strange that in my profession I operate for hours on end to save one life and yet in our country, in a jiffy so many lives are lost, specially on our roads and highways. Life is precious and this applies to man and animal as well. It is unfortunate that the government is spending less on health so I guess asking for improved facilities to look after wild life would be a far cry. I am sure, however, that we are progressing and hopefully in the near future we shall be able to have a well established veterinary hospital at every wildlife sanctuary in the country.” said Dr Chagla.

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