Two leopard cubs that had slipped into a shallow well inside the premises of Ghodbunder fort were rescued by residents of Ghodbunder village on Tuesday.
According to villagers and forest officials, the cubs might have been searching for water.
The villagers showed quick thinking on their part by using a wooden ladder to help the five to six month old cubs to climb up from well that was filled with garbage and muck.
The leopard cubs made a dash for the forest after they jumped out of the well.
Ghodbunder fort is located above the northwestern border of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) close to Vasai creek.
Kunal Bhandari, a resident of Ghodbunder village that is located close to the boundary of SGNP was the first to spot the leopard cubs at around 8.15am.
Bhandari heard the cubs growling inside the well when he was on his way to fetch water from another well.
Bhandari, who was accompanied by his friend Prashant Shirke informed the village elders who informed the local police about the cubs.
The villagers had managed to help the cubs climb out of the well at around 10.45am; just before SGNP’s wildlife rescue team reached the spot.
“A lot of people from the village had gathered around the concretised well, that is more than six feet deep. It is an old, small well dating back to 17th century. The cubs were scared and as soon as they climbed up, they made a dash for the forest. Leopards don’t roam around here frequently,” said Prashant Shirke, 35, a resident of Ghodbunder village.
“It was very wise of the villagers to think on their feet and use a ladder. Usually, people are scared and all they do is crowd around the area the leopard has strayed into,” said Sunil Limaye, director, SGNP.