Breaking! Three Leopard Cubs That Were Found In A Sugarcane Field Reunite With Their Mother After Being Rescued By Wildlife SOS
Three leopard cubs were thankfully rescued by Wildlife SOS and the Forest Department from a sugarcane field in Nagargaon village located in Shirur range, Maharashtra. The tiny twenty-five day old cubs were kept under observation for a few hours and later successfully reunited with their mother.
Harvest season in Maharashtra often coincides with leopard cub season, which puts both humans and these stunning elusive big cats in a rather sensitive and conflicting situation. Sugarcane fields foster a suitable shelter where female leopards can breed and this serves as a safe haven for their cubs from other predators. However, these cubs face the risk of being exposed to sugarcane farmers, especially during the harvest season.
On Tuesday, local sugarcane farmers in Nagargaon village stumbled upon three tiny leopard cubs while harvesting their crops. The Forest Department and the Wildlife SOS team operating out of the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Center were soon alerted to this incident and both teams immediately geared up for the rescue mission.
The leopards, one male and two females, were found to be in good health and ready to go back to their mum. As leopards are territorial animals it is essential to release them close to where they were initially found. The cubs were carefully placed in a safe box and the team installed a remote controlled camera trap to document the reunion process, while monitoring the area from a distance.
“The mother must have been searching for her cubs, as within a few minutes she was able to sniff them out. On reaching the crate, she patiently waited to ensure no danger stood in the way, and then she cleverly used her paws to carefully tip it over. She then moved them to a safer location. Wildlife SOS makes every effort to make rescue and reunion operations possible,” said Dr. Ajay Deshmukh, Senior Veterinarian at the Wildlife SOS Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Center in an email sent to WAN.
Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS said, “The harvest season in the state of Maharashtra witnesses higher instances of leopard sightings because the farmers move into the fields to cut down the long sugarcane stalks. We are grateful to the villagers who took the right step by informing the Forest Department. The team aims at working 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.”
“Such incidents are quite common for villagers residing near the scrub forests of Maharashtra, which is the natural habitat of a large population of leopards. The Wildlife SOS team was highly trained and very helpful in guiding us through handling the cubs. It’s reassuring to know that the cubs will be raised in the wild by their mother and thereby have a good chance at a free life in the wild,” said Manohar Ramdev Mhasekar, RFO, Shirur.
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