8-month-old paralysed leopard cub back on her feet, released in the wild
She was then taken to Wildlife SOS’ Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre (MLRC) in Junnar for treatment. Last week, she was released back in her natural habitat by Igatpuri forest officials and the MLRC team.Updated: Jun 02, 2019 06:17 IST
Five months after a three-month old leopard cub was injured in a road accident at Igatpuri in Nashik, she was recently released into the wild in Maharashtra. The cub, who suffered nerve damage and paralysis in January, was rescued by forest department officials.
She was then taken to Wildlife SOS’ Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre (MLRC) in Junnar for treatment. Last week, she was released back in her natural habitat by Igatpuri forest officials and the MLRC team.
“When we first saw her, she had bruises on her face, and could not move due to cervical nerve damage, a spinal injury that led to complete paralysis. We thought she would never walk again,” said Dr Ajay Deshmukh, senior veterinarian at MLRC.
Deshmukh and his team began treatment through massage therapy and medication for the nerve damage. “During the first month, we massaged her gently thrice a day allowing her to come out of shock. Then we began physiotherapy. The medication helped her regain strength. We built a structure inside her cage to help her sit up,” he said.
Within two and a half months, the cub was able to stand. The vets then began focusing on her feeding pattern. “Food was kept at a small distance from the cub so that she could start walking again. This line of treatment continued with stretching and assisted walks, reducing the pain while restoring muscle control,” said Deshmukh.
By the first week of April, the cub was able to walk and soon began climbing the small structure inside her cage. “Rather than spending her life in captivity, our focus was to ensure she could fend for herself in the wild. Baits were kept out for her and she slowly learned how to make a kill. Soon she was ready for release,” said Deshmukh.
“Road accidents due to the absence of wildlife corridors are a major reason for recurrence of such cases,” said Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO, Wildlife SOS. MLRC has 30 rescued leopards in captivity and has, over the last four years, reunited over 60 cubs with their mothers.