Two Jungle cat cubs spark leopard scare

Jun 20, 2012, 07:11 IST | A correspondent

What were first feared to be leopard cubs, found in Aarey colony, were later revealed to be harmless jungle cat cubs

Fear of another escaped leopard broke out yesterday morning, after what were thought to be two leopard cubs were found abandoned in the Aarey Colony area in Goregaon (E). After spotting the two newborn cubs, a nearby resident immediately called the Sanjay Gandhi National Park control room, and a team was sent to the spot.

Catnap: Oblivious to the commotion caused by them, the two jungle cat cubs were fast asleep after being transferred to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park yesterday morning. Pic/Nimesh Dave 

Following their arrival, the team from SGNP rescued the cubs and took them back to the park for examination. After verifying the cubs, experts from the park stated that the newly born cubs were not leopard cubs as previously thought, but actually jungle cat cubs. Speaking to MiD DAY, SGNP Director and Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) Sunil Limaye said, β€œThe two small cubs found in the Aarey Colony area have been safely brought to the park, and have been examined, leading us to conclude that they are jungle cat cubs, not leopard cubs.”

Jungle cats are a little larger then domestic cats, and they pose no threat to human life. The cubs were scheduled to be returned to the spot where they were found on Tuesday night. Limaye continued, β€œThe cubs will be taken back to where they were found so that their mother comes and takes them away. If the mother does not come, we will bring them back in the park and raise them.”

Feline fact file
The jungle cat (Felis chaus) is a medium-sized cat native to Asia from southern China in the east through Southeast and Central Asia to the Nile Valley in the west. It is listed as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as it is widespread and common particularly in India. Population declines and range contraction are of concern, particularly in Egypt, in the Caucasus, and in southwestern, Central and Southeast Asia. 

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