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Two leopard cubs reunited with their mother near Junnar in Maharashtra

Around 40 cubs having been reunited successfully with their mothers over the past two years

mumbai Updated: Nov 28, 2017 12:08 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Leopard,cubs
The leopard cubs being put in a safety box, so that their mother can pick them up. (HT Photo )

A pair of two-month-old leopard cubs – male and female – was safely reunited with their mother on the outskirts of Ranjani village near Junnar by forest department officials and members of Wildlife SOS on Sunday. This is third such incident this month and 27th of this year. More than 40 cubs having been successfully reunited with their mothers in the past two years.

According to the forest department, sugarcane farmers spotted the cubs around 3pm on Sunday and informed the forest department. “While the villagers wanted us to take the cubs away, to avoid man-animal conflict, our attempt is to always reunite the cubs with their mothers. We made them understand,” said Prajyot Palave, range forest officer, Junnar. “We informed the Wildlife SOS team around 5.30pm and completed the rescue operation within a couple of hours.”

The Wildlife SOS team operating from Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Center (MLRC) examined the cubs for ticks and injuries. The cubs were healthy and fit for release. “Once we were alerted that the mother was roaming in the vicinity, we had to act fast,” said Dr Ajay Deshmukh, senior veterinarian, MLRC. “The two cubs were carefully placed in a safe box and taken back to the field to the same location where they were first spotted.”

He added that they found another leopard cub hiding at the same spot. “We ensured that all three cubs were kept within the safe box and left the location undisturbed. In the early of Monday, we found that all three cubs were taken by their mother,” said Deshmukh.

The reunion plays a significant role in avoiding man-animal conflict cases and protecting the leopard population, said experts. Earlier, the practice was to take unattended cubs to rescue centres where they were kept in captivity. This led to high mortality among the cubs. Mother leopards searching for cubs could enter inhabited areas. The new strategy to allow leopards to come back for the cubs will preserve the species’ population.

2 big cats spotted in Thane

Two leopards were spotted by the occupants of two residential buildings in Upwan area, Thane, in the early hours of Saturday. Residents say nobody panicked because leopard sightings in Upwan were common. The leopards were spotted after stray dogs in the area started barking. “We weren’t shocked to see the leopards. They might have come in search of an easy prey. They entered the premises and minutes later vanished into the dark towards the to SGNP side,” said an Upwan resident.

First Published: Nov 28, 2017 12:08 IST