3 leopards rescued in last three days across district

ST CORRESPONDENT
Thursday, 14 March 2019

Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, said, “Wildlife SOS often receives calls for lost leopard cub sightings during the pre-harvest and harvest season. 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.”

PUNE: Officials of Pune Forest Division and Wildlife SOS rescued three leopards in last three days from different parts of Pune district. According to officials of Wildlife SOS, two leopards were rescued on Monday, while one leopard was rescued on Wednesday. Last week also officials of Wildlife SOS had rescued three leopards. 

On Monday evening, sugarcane farmers in Vadgaon Anand village were taken aback when they saw a lone leopard cub while harvesting their crops. The Forest Department and the Wildlife SOS team operating out of the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre were soon alerted and both teams immediately geared up for the rescue mission.

While on their way to Vadgaon, the Wildlife SOS rescue team led by senior veterinarian Dr Ajay Deshmukh received a call about a similar situation that had arisen at Golegaon village in Junnar. The villagers had sighted a leopard cub on the periphery of the sugarcane field, adjoining their village. Consequently, the team split up midway to carry out both rescues simultaneously. Dr Ajay Deshmukh headed to Vadgaon, while Wildlife SOS veterinary assistant, Mahendra Dhore was deployed to Golegaon.

On-site medical examinations confirmed that both leopard cubs were healthy and ready to be reunited with their mothers. The cubs were carefully placed inside safe boxes, close to where they were found, and the Wildlife SOS team installed remote-controlled camera traps to monitor and document the two reunions. 

Dr Ajay Deshmukh, a senior veterinarian at the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre, said, “Both the leopard cubs were males. The one from Vadgaon Anand village was approximately 10-weeks-old, whereas the other was 13-weeks-old. Such reunions are of great importance in order to curb conflict situations. If female leopards are unable to locate their cubs, it is natural for them to turn defensive or aggressive and they pose an immediate threat to humans in close proximity. It is also immensely rewarding to know that these cubs will now enjoy free life in the wild.”

Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, said, “Wildlife SOS often receives calls for lost leopard cub sightings during the pre-harvest and harvest season. 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.”

Bapu Yele, Range Forest Officer (Ottur), said, “The Wildlife SOS team is extremely cooperative and has always responded timely to each call of rescue. The NGO does excellent work to mitigate man-leopard conflict situations in the State. “

Speaking about the rescue operation carried out on Wednesday in Ambegaon village, Deshmukh said that a 6-month old female leopard had fallen in a well. “The leopard was rescued after a two-hour-long operation along with officials of Forest Department,” added Deshmukh.

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