Pune: Three leopard cubs rescued from farm, reunited with mother

Updated: Nov 21, 2019, 12:07 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh |

The twenty-five-day old cubs were kept under observation for a few hours and were reunited with the mother

This image has been used for representational purposes only
This image has been used for representational purposes only

Three leopard cubs were rescued from a sugarcane field in Nagargaon village located in Shirur range, Maharashtra by the Forest Department and an organisation called SOS wildlife. The twenty-five-day old cubs were kept under observation for a few hours and were reunited with the mother.

The harvest season in Maharashtra often coincides with leopard cub season, which puts both humans and these elusive wild cats in a rather sensitive and conflicting situation. Owing to their dense and tall stalks, sugarcane fields foster a suitable shelter for the female leopards to breed in and this serves as a safe haven for their cubs from other predators. However, most often than not, these cubs face the risk of being exposed to sugarcane farmers, especially during the harvest season.

On Tuesday, local sugarcane farmers in Nagargaon village stumbled upon three tiny leopard cubs while harvesting their crops. The Forest Department and the Wildlife SOS team operating out of the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Center were soon alerted to this incident and both teams immediately geared up for the rescue mission.

The leopards, identified as one male and two females, were estimated to be about twenty-five days old. They were found to be in good health and ready to go back to their mother. As leopards are territorial animals, it is essential to release them close to where they were initially found. The cubs were carefully placed in a safe box and the team installed a remote-controlled camera trap to document the reunion process while monitoring the area from a distance.

Dr Ajay Deshmukh, Senior Veterinarian at the Wildlife SOS Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre said, “The mother must have been searching for her cubs, as within a few minutes she was able to sniff them out. On reaching the crate, she patiently waited to ensure no danger stood in the way, and then she cleverly used her paws to carefully tip it over. She then moved them to a safer location. Wildlife SOS makes every effort to make such rescue and reunion operations possible.”

Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder & CEO Wildlife SOS said, “The harvest season in the state of Maharashtra, witnesses higher instances of leopard sightings because the farmers move into the fields to cut down the long sugarcane stalks. We are grateful to the villagers who took the right step by informing the Forest Department. The team aims at working closely with the Forest Department to raise awareness among the villagers to promote a positive attitude towards leopards and endorse a feeling of co-existence.”

Manohar Ramdev Mhasekar, RFO, Shirur said, “Such incidents are quite common for villagers residing near the scrub forests of Maharashtra, which is the natural habitat of a large population of leopards. The Wildlife SOS team was highly trained and very helpful in guiding us through handling the cubs. It’s reassuring to know that the cubs will be raised in the wild by their mother and thereby have a good chance at a free life in the wild.”

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