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Forest department, NGO help reunite two leopard cubs with their mothers in Junnar

According to forest department officials, farmers of Wadgaon Anand (Junnar Taluka) found a lone leopard cub while harvesting crops in their field.

pune Updated: Mar 14, 2019 15:42 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,state forest department,leopard cubs
One of the leopard cubs is seen being checked by officials after being rescued from the sugarcane fields in Junnar Taluka, on March 11.(HT/PHOTO)

The state forest department rescued two male leopard cubs from sugarcane fields near Pune on March 11 and then, reunited them with their mothers in association with Wildlife SOS, a non-governmental organisation.

According to data provided by the forest department, 54 leopards have been successfully reunited with their mothers, in the past 10 years by the forest department in the Pune region.

According to forest department officials, farmers of Wadgaon Anand (Junnar Taluka) found a lone leopard cub while harvesting crops in their field. They alerted the department and Bapu Yele, range forest officer (Ottur), in turn called the Wildlife SOS team at the Manikdoh leopard rescue centre in Junnar, for assistance.

The rescue team, led by Dr Ajay Deshmukh, senior veterinarian at the Manikdoh leopard rescue centre, was already en route to the location, when he received another call about a similar situation in Golegaon, a village in Junnar Taluka.

The team quickly split into two and carried out both the rescue operations simultaneously.

Yele said, “The Wildlife SOS team is extremely cooperative and has always responded timely to each call of rescue. The forest department and the Wildlife SOS team have carried out many such rescue and reunion operations in the region.”

On medical examinations, both leopard cubs were found to be healthy and ready to be reunited with their mothers. The cub found in Wadgaon Anand was reunited with its mother at 9.15 pm on March 11, while the second cub, found in Golegaon, reunited with his mother by 8.40 pm on March 11.

Dr Deshmukh said, “There has been an increase in the number of leopard cub spotting cases, post the sugarcane harvest period. It is very important to reunite the cub with its mother as soon as possible, as female leopards tend to become aggressive and may even resort to attacking humans in frustration if the cub is not found.”

Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and chief executive officer of Wildlife SOS, said, “Wildlife SOS often receives calls for lost leopard cub sightings during the pre-harvest and harvest season. The dense sugarcane fields foster a suitable shelter for leopards to breed in and nurture their cubs. Our team aims to work closely with the forest department to raise awareness among the villagers to promote a positive attitude towards leopards and endorse a feeling of co-existence.”

First Published: Mar 14, 2019 14:54 IST