Three 20-day-old lost leopard cubs reunited with mother in Maharashtra
Farmers found cubs in a sugarcane field in Nashik’s Brahmanwada village; mother carried them away after they were released at the same spot.mumbai Updated: Nov 14, 2017 10:21 IST
Three 20-day-old leopard cubs were reunited with their mother five days after they were found in a sugarcane field in Brahmanwada village, Nashik.
Farmers found one male and two female cubs huddled together in the dense plantation near the village in Niphad taluka. Villagers informed forest officers about them, but efforts to find the mother failed.
“Initially, the villagers insisted that we take the cubs away from the area. However, they later understood that this would only anger the mother, who might have been searching for them,” said Sanjay Bhandari, range forest officer. “Leopards in this area are common, as there are several sugarcane fields that provide a safe cover for them.”
The forest officials called rescue group Wildlife SOS from the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Center (MLRC) in Junnar. Over the past two years, the group has successfully reunited 26 leopard cubs with their mothers.
Wildlife experts said leopards are territorial animals and so it is essential to release them in the vicinity of where they were rescued.
“The officers failed to place the cubs at the exact location they were found at, which is why their mother did not return,” said Dr Ajay Deshmukh, senior veterinarian, MLRC.
He and his team examined the cubs to ensure that they were not injured or ill. On Sunday, the rescuers placed the cubs in a box and took it to where they were first found.
A remote-controlled camera trap was installed to document the reunion.
“After several hours, we spotted the female leopard cautiously emerging from the forest. She checked her cubs and carried them by the scruff of their neck into the forest,” he said.
Reuniting lost cubs with their mother is important as it helps preserve the leopard population and avoid man-animal conflict, said experts. Earlier, lost cubs were sent to a rescue centre and kept in captivity for life.