Krishna, the 18-year-old leopard at Sanjay Gandhi National Park’s (SGNP) rescue centre in Borivli, is seriously ill.
Veterinarians who have been caring for her said she has been undergoing treatment for chest infection and sores over the past five days. “The average lifespan of a leopard is 12 to 14 years. Considering Krishna’s age, we are doing everything we can to help her recover. However, she remains critical and unresponsive,” said Dr Shailesh Pethe, veterinarian, SGNP. He added that she is being administered saline and antibiotics. “She hasn’t eaten for the past two days. We do not know if her condition will deteriorate further,” he said.
Krishna was a three-month-old cub when she was brought to the park in 1999. She had been abandoned by her mother at a sugarcane field near Pen in Raigad district. “She is the only leopard at the centre who does not mind being touched by people. Whenever we called her by name, she would come running out of her cage to greet us,” said said Shailesh Deore, range forest officer, SGNP.
He added that after hearing about Krishna’s condition, SGNP officers gathered at her cage on Saturday, hoping for her recovery. “Krishna’s mate, Raja, died in 2014. She has been lonely since then,” said Deore.
In 2014, forest officials suspected that Krishna had food poisoning. Her condition improved after treatment and she recovered.
In December last year, the city lost 16-year-old male leopard, Ahmednagar, one of the oldest animals at the park. He died of old age. He too, had stopped eating for two days, following which his condition became critical.
SGNP’s centre cares for abandoned cubs and injured cats that can no longer hunt and feed themselves. There are currently 15 leopards – eight female and seven male — at SGNP’s leopard rescue centre, of which four – two male and two female – are between 14 and 16 years.