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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Mumbai SGNP officials work relentlessly to reunite leopard cubs with mother

Mumbai: SGNP officials work relentlessly to reunite leopard cubs with mother

Updated on: 18 February,2024 11:42 AM IST  |  Mumbai
mid-day online correspondent |

The cubs, about two months old, were discovered near a buffalo stable in the Aarey Colony area. Despite efforts to locate the mother, she has not returned.

Mumbai: SGNP officials work relentlessly to reunite leopard cubs with mother

Leopard cubs/ File Photo

Officials at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) are trying everything possible to reunite three leopard kittens with their missing mother. They are continuously reviewing photographs from camera traps and even distributing the cubs' scat in the hopes of drawing their mother back. The cubs have been without their mother for over a month, and time is running out, a PTI report stated. 

The cubs, about two months old, were discovered near a buffalo stable in the Aarey Colony region. Despite efforts to locate the mother, she has not returned. The cubs were initially fed milk and chicken, although they appeared to prefer the poultry, reported the news agency. 


Forest officials attempted to reunite the cubs with their mother by placing them in a cage near where they were discovered, but she did not come up. The cubs are currently being cared for in the park's rescue centre. There is concern that the mother abandoned them, probably due to stress from her previous litter.


Range forest officer (RFO) Niket Shinde, per the PTI report, said, "When we first found them, we aimed to reunite the cubs with their mother. He added that they waited for a couple of days for their mother to return before directly intervening and said, "We set up camera traps near the water tank and posted our personnel not far from the spot to guard the cubs and monitor if the mother returned." Shinde further said that the litter could be the big cat's first which can be stressful. 


Meanwhile, Dr Vinaya Jangle, a veterinarian at the SGNP, said, "When they were found, the cubs were given milk, chicken soup, raw chicken and water. They polished off the chicken, leaving the milk untouched." Dr Jangle further explained, as per the agency report, that females of cat family at times resort to false mating if there's a male near cubs to ensure their safety but it does not take longer than five to six days.

SGNP is a natural area in Mumbai that is important for the city's environment. The park has several leopards, although they occasionally venture into metropolitan areas such as Film City.

The cubs are cared for by dedicated staff and fed a chicken-based diet twice daily. They are gaining weight and absorbing the necessary nourishment. Efforts to find their mother continue, including distributing the cubs' scat to entice her.

The cubs' caretaker Manoj More told PTI, "Babies, whether human or leopard, need love and care. They frown and get possessive if more attention is given to one of them. They are naughty, inquisitive and playful."

More further stated that the cubs are released in an enclosure every morning and evening to get their daily dose of sunlight and that ar night, a heater is put on to ensure they don't miss their mother's warmth amid the colder temperature inside the park. Reportedly, the mercury inside the park can drop by as much as seven degrees Celcius in comparison to outside.

If the cubs are unable to return to their mother soon, they may be forced to live in captivity since they rely on their mother to educate them how to survive in nature. While reunions have occurred in the past, if these cubs are reunited, it will be an incredible accomplishment given how long they have been separated.

"We spread the scat of the cubs in and around the location they were found, hoping that the mother will smell it and return. So far, we have got images of a male and a female leopard in camera traps, but not the mother," Dr Jangle added.

"In the cat family, the mother teaches the cubs to hunt. In her absence, it is difficult for them to survive in the park even after they become adults," Dr Jangle said.

"We have had reunions of mothers with their cubs in the past, but if these three cubs are reunited, it will be a record as the mother and the cubs have stayed apart for over a month," said Assistant Conservator of forest Sudhir Sonawale.

With PTI inputs

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