10 leopard cubs reunited with mothers in last 2 months in Pune
Three leopard cubs, less than 15 days old, were reunited with their mother early hours of Tuesday, after being found at a sugarcane field in Pune’s Junnar taluka last week. This is the second such case in the area since March 20, when two 45-day-old cubs, found in a sugarcane field in Junnar’s Ozar village, were reunited with their mother. A total of 10 cubs have been rescued and reunited with their mothers since February in the region.
In all cases the cubs were found by farmers harvesting sugarcane crops between December and late March- early April. Officials said farmers in the area occasionally sighted leopards, especially around this time of the year, and alerted the forest office, who took help from Wildlife SOS, which runs a leopard rescue and rehabilitation centre in Junnar.
“While harvesting their sugarcane crops, local farmers stumbled upon three tiny leopard cubs huddled together amidst the tall, dense fields in Vadgaon Sahani village... The cubs were brought to the Wildlife SOS Leopard Rescue Center for a brief medical examination. Identified as two males and one female, the cubs were estimated to be about fifteen-days-old,” Wildlife SOS said in a statement.
Veterinarian Dr Nikhil Bangar, who examined the cubs for ticks and injuries, found them to be in good health. An initial attempt to reunite the lost cubs with their mother on the weekend remained unsuccessful. However, the cubs were placed in a box and left in the same field where they were found late Monday night.
“After a long night of waiting, the mother leopard was seen slowly approaching the field at dawn. Relieved to be reunited with her cubs, the leopard quickly knocked over the box and took her precious babies away to a safer location,” said Dr Bangar. The operation was captured with a camera trap placed nearby.
Kartick Satyanarayan, CEO, Wildlife SOS, said, “Harvest season in Maharashtra often coincides with leopard cub season, which puts both humans and these elusive wild cats in a rather sensitive and conflicting situation. We are grateful to the villagers who took the right step by informing the Forest Department.”
Yogesh Ghodke, Range Forest Officer in charge of the area, explained that Junnar region has a significant leopard population, forced to seek refuge in tall, dense sugarcane fields due to the rapid loss of forest cover, leading to such encounters.