Leopard cubs rescued from open well in Junnar taluka

Updated: Jan 19, 2018, 18:23 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Cubs had fallen into the well while playing; after using a pole snare to haul them out, the team of rescuers released them inside the forest

Dr Deshmukh climbed down the well
Dr Deshmukh climbed down the well

In yet another successful leopard rescue by the NGO Wildlife SOS along with the Junnar forest department, two leopard cubs that had fallen into a well were successfully rescued on Thursday evening.

Range Forest Officer (RFO) Sachin Ragtwan from the Otur Range of the Junnar Forest Department (Territorial) received a call that two leopard cubs had fallen into an open well in Gatwadi village. He informed the taluka’s Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre, after which the team led by expert veterinarian Dr Ajay Deshmukh from Wild­life SOS, reached the spot.

Near the well, the team saw a mob of more than 50-60 villagers trying to catch a glimpse of the cubs. The villagers were requested to stay away to prevent any chaos. Dr Deshmukh said, "When we reached the spot we saw that two leopard cubs, aged 4-5 months, had fallen into an open well and were taking refuge on the concrete ledge inside. I, initially, went into the well in the hope of rescuing them, but there was a risk of them falling into the water again, so we used a pole snare to haul them out."

Rescued cub
Rescued cub

The 50-foot-deep well had water up to 30 feet and tranquilising the cubs was not possible as they could have fallen back into the water and drowned.

"We had to be very alert during the rescue because we did not want to injure the cubs. By around 5.30 pm, both the leopard cubs were safely rescued using a snare pole. We conducted a medical examination of both the cubs [one male and one female] and as they were fit, they were released back into their natural habitat the same night," said Dr Deshmukh.

'Open' risks

Open wells in sugarcane fields in Junnar pose a huge threat to wild animals. Biol­ogist and leopard expert Dr Vidya Athreya said, "An iron frame over the open wells will help prevent animals from falling into them. Thr­ee years ago the Pune Col­l­e­ctor had agreed to the idea. I think the process of installing the covers should be taken up by the Revenue Department and expedited."

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