Two of the four leopard cubs that were brought to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) on March 31 from Shahada died recently because of lack of nutrition and grooming at the park’s rescue centre.
According to park officials, the mother abandoned the cubs when they were about 15 days old. They were found in a sugarcane field at Shahada taluka in north Maharashtra by farmers.
SGNP veterinarian Sanjiv Pinjarkar said, “One of the cubs died on Thursday night, while the other died a week ago. As they were not fed colostrum (bee stings or first milk), their immune systems were weak. They were excessively dehydrated too.”
Local forest officials at Shahada kept the cubs under their care for three nights, hoping for the mother to return. When there was no sign of the mother, they decided to send them to SGNP’s rescue centre.
“We have consulted professors from the Bombay Veterinary College to help us with their nutrition. The two other cubs are still weak, but we are orally feeding them powdered milk,” added Pinjarkar.
Vikas Gupta, director and chief conservator of forest, SGNP, said, “Owing to dehydration and lack of mother’s milk, two cubs died. The other two appear healthy and are being kept at our rescue centre.”
Gupta said the forest officials have been deployed at the rescue centres to feed the cubs every 45 minutes and keep them warm at night.