PUNE: Officials of the Pune Forest Department and Wildlife SOS, a non-government organisation, inaugurated five cages for accommodating rescued leopards at Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre (MLRC) in Junnar on the occasion of World Wildlife Day on Saturday. Each cage is about 250 square metres.
The MLRC is a transit and treatment centre for leopards and hosts about 35 of them including 24 female leopards. Speaking to reporters, Vivek Khandekar, Chief Conservator of Forests, Pune Circle said the infrastructure for MLRC is provided by the State government to Wildlife SOS. “Four to five persons of Wildlife SOS run the operations including treatment of injured leopards and solving man-animal conflict,” added Khandekar.
He said Rs 25,000 is spent per month on each leopard. Officials of the Forest Department said depending on the size, the leopards are fed at least 3 kg meat daily. “We are also planning to expand the area of MLRC. There is 3.14 hectare land of Irrigation Department outside MLRC and we plan to acquire it,” added Khandekar.
MLRC’s Veterinary Officer Dr Ajay Deshmukh said the leopards hide in sugarcane fields and have to be rescued safely. “After rescuing them we release the leopards in the wild. If the leopard is injured we keep the it at MLRC for treatment. From 2009 to 2017, 44 leopard cubs were united with their mothers by Wildlife SOS,” added Deshmukh.