A five-year-old female leopard, which fell into a 30-foot well at Savidhane village near Junnar in Pune on Sunday night, was rescued after an hour-long operation and released back into the wild on Monday.
According to residents of the area, a villager found the animal when he went to turn on the irrigation pump on Monday morning.
“The leopard was panicking and was at a risk of drowning because of the increasing water level,” said a farmer.
The villagers contacted the forest department, who further diverted the call to Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre (MLRC) run by the Wildlife SOS in the region.
“When we reached the spot, we found the terrified leopard struggling to stay out of the water and was trying to cling to any dry surface it could find. Our first responsibility was to control the crowd that had gathered, as they were all trying to throw things at the scared animal in an attempt to get a glimpse of it,” said Dr Ajay Deshmukh, a senior veterinarian with the MLRC, who conducted the rescue operation.
Deshmukh added that a trap cage was lowered into the well and the leopard climbed into it.
“We checked the condition of the animal immediately after the rescue. Apart from being in shock because of the incident, she only had a few minor injuries on her paws, which probably happened while trying to escape from the well,” he said.
The leopard was kept under observation for a few hours and was released into her natural habitat on Monday itself.
“The Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre is run by the Wildlife SOS in collaboration with the Maharashtra forest department and at present houses 31 rescued leopards. It provides a transit home for those injured by villagers or trapped in conflict situations,” he said.