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Leopard cub rescued from 60-ft well after 7-hr rescue operation

Farmers patrolling their sugarcane field found the cub clinging on to a pump at the bottom of the well

mumbai Updated: Aug 24, 2017 00:27 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
The leopard cub that was rescued on Tuesday (HT photo)

A seven-month-old leopard cub, trapped inside a 60-foot-deep well at Ottur in Pune district, was rescued following a seven-hour-long operation on Tuesday. Farmers patrolling their sugarcane field in Kolwadi found the cub clinging on to a pump at the bottom of the well around 5pm.

“We heard loud cries and rushed to see what was in the well. It was leopard cub. The only thing that prevented the animal from drowning was the pump. We immediately informed the forest department,” said Satish Bhoir, farmer from the area.

Upon receiving information, a five-member team from Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre (MLRC) in Junnar, rushed to the spot. Veterinarians from MLRC said 2,000 people had gathered at the spot, which made the rescue difficult.

“Since the cub was in distress, we deployed a specially designed trap cage to rescue it. We generally use crates for cub rescues,” said Dr Ajay Deshmukh, senior veterinarian, MLRC, in-charge of the operation. “After the forest department was able to control the crowd, we managed to completed the rescue.”

Deshmukh who examined the cub said it was fit to be released back in to the wild.

Forest officials said that the cub’s mother was spotted in the vicinity. “An hour after the rescue, we decided to release the cub. We have told farmers to inform us about the reunion, if the witness it,” said Sachin Ragatwan, range forest officer, Ottur.

Experts said there was a need to educate local residents about the significance of the species. “As human habitations expand in to wilderness, leopards will be forced out of their territory and will fall in to these dangerous wells. We need a more sustainable solution,” said Kartick Satyanarayan, chairman, Wildlife SOS.

First Published: Aug 24, 2017 00:27 IST