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Six-year-old injured leopard rescued from sugarcane field in Maharashtra

According to the forest department, the leopard was hit by a high-speed vehicle either on Thursday or Friday night, following which it sought refuge in the sugarcane field.

mumbai Updated: Feb 06, 2018 10:26 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
mumbai,environment,wildlife
Hindustan Times had reported on February 1 that 40 leopards were killed in January alone this year. Last year, 63 leopards died in road and rail accidents.(HT)

A severely injured six-year-old male leopard, whose hind legs were paralysed after a suspected road accident, was rescued from a sugarcane field near Dhavalpuri village, Ahmednagar, 257km from Mumbai, on Sunday.

According to the forest department, the leopard was hit by a high-speed vehicle either on Thursday or Friday night, following which it sought refuge in the sugarcane field.

Kishan R Agalwe, range forest officer, Takali Dhokeshwar, said, “A farmer saw the leopard struggling to make its way into the field on Saturday evening. He immediately reported the incident to the NGO Wildlife SOS’s Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre (MLRC) in Junnar.”

A three-member team from Wildlife SOS, accompanied by a group of 40 forest officers, carrying safety nets and tranquillising equipment arrived the site on Sunday. The rescue operation lasted three hours.

Dr Ajay Deshmukh, senior veterinarian, Wildlife SOS MLRC, said, “We needed to tranquilise the animal before treating it. The leopard was hiding deep within the sugarcane fields, so we formed four teams of 10 forest officers each to scan the field. The area was sealed to ensure crowd control. Once we caught sight of the leopard, I carefully immobilized him by using a sedative injection from a safe distance. We then rushed him to a transit facility in Dhotre where he is being treated.”

“The wounds on the thigh and flank region appear to be two to three days old. The leopard is paralysed from waist down and is suffering from a tick infestation. While we have removed the ticks, we will be conducting an X-ray examination later this week to determine the cause and extent of the injury,” said Dr. Deshmukh.

“Once the medical treatment is completed and we receive permission from the chief wildlife warden, the leopard will be transferred to our facility at MLRC.”

HT had reported on February 1 that 40 leopards were killed in January alone this year, of which 15 were poached (38%) and three died in road and rail accidents. Last year, 63 leopards died in road and rail accidents.

Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO Wildlife SOS said, “With little or no provision for wildlife corridors or underpasses that allow the animals to cross the road safely, many unsuspecting animals put their lives at risk as they often wander onto these busy highways and end up getting injured or killed.”

First Published: Feb 06, 2018 10:21 IST