On Friday evening, farmers at Bori village stumbled upon a tiny leopard cub just as they were heading back home from the sugarcane fields. Worried for its well-being, they immediately contacted the Maharashtra Forest department, which in turn contacted Wildlife SOS for an early intervention.
With three back-to-back leopard rescue and reunion operations, it’s been quite an action-packed week for Wildlife SOS and the Maharashtra Forest department The team helped reunite another mother leopard with her 2-month-old cub after the latter was found by sugarcane farmers in Bori village in Otur forest range of Junnar.
Wildlife SOS and Maharashtra Forest department have so far successfully reunited over 90 cubs with their mothers. On Friday evening, farmers at Bori village stumbled upon a tiny leopard cub just as they were heading back home from the sugarcane fields. Worried for its well-being, they immediately contacted the Maharashtra Forest department, which in turn contacted Wildlife SOS for an early intervention.
Two rescue units from the Wildlife SOS Leopard Rescue Centre and the Forest department reached the location, with the necessary medical equipment and kits.
An on-site examination of the cub was conducted to ascertain its age and to check if it was suffering from any wounds, infection or showing signs of dehydration. Wildlife SOS veterinary doctor, Dr Nikhil Bangar, identified the cub as a female, estimated to be about two months old, and confirmed that it was healthy and fit for release. The cub was immediately placed in a safe box and taken to the area where it was found initially.
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Remote-controlled camera traps were installed by the team to document the reunion. The footage showed that the cub became very active and vocal once it noticed the mother approaching. After gently knocking off the covers from the safe box, the mother leopard picked up the cub by the scruff of its neck and retreated to the tall, dense sugarcane field.
Dr Bangar said, “Reunion operations are extremely sensitive so measures have to be taken to ensure that they are successful. We often line the safe box with scent markings, like the cub’s urine drops, to help the mother leopard locate them, making such reunions easier.”
Yogesh Ghodake, range forest officer of Otur, said, “Sugarcane fields provide a safe cover for leopards to give birth in and to rear their cubs. During the harvest season, however, farmers often come across stranded leopard cubs in the fields which can lead to conflict situations. Therefore, we try our best to reunite missing cubs with their mothers to avoid instances of human-leopard conflicts.”
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