Pune: Officials of the Wildlife SOS and Parner Forest Department helped a 13-week-old leopard cub reunite with its mother on Tuesday in Parner village in State. As per information shared by Wildlife SOS team, the leopard had recently given birth to three cubs in Wadegavhan village of Parner taluka in Ahmednagar. On Tuesday afternoon, one of the cubs wandered far away from its siblings and had ventured into the village. A farmer then spotted the helpless young leopard outside his sugarcane field, who then rushed to alert the Forest Department.
Range Forest Officer Manisha Bhinge immediately reached out to the Wildlife SOS team operating out of the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre in Junnar for their assistance.
A four-member team led by Wildlife SOS senior veterinarian Dr Ajay Deshmukh drove to the village located nearly 90 km from the rescue centre. The cub was approximately 13 weeks old and identified as a male. In hopes of reuniting the lost cub with its family, the team carefully placed him in a safe box and installed a remote-controlled camera trap to document the reunion process.
While monitoring the area from a distance, the large female leopard finally emerged from the neighbouring forest and spotted her young one.
Dr Deshmukh said, “In order to survive in the wild and learn the skills of survival, it is crucial for leopard cubs to be reared by their mothers for the first two years of their lives. It is also immensely rewarding for us to know that the cub will now have a chance at a free life in the wild along with his siblings.”
Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, said, “Such reunions are also important to help curb conflict situations. If female leopards are unable to locate their cubs, it is natural for them to turn defensive or aggressive and they pose an immediate threat to humans in close proximity.”
Speaking about the reunion Manisha Bhinge, Range Forest Officer (Parner), said, “The Shirur region has a significant leopard population and due to rapid loss of forest cover, these animals have found safe cover in the dense sugarcane fields. The leopard mother was spotted nearby and so we chose to release the leopard cub in the area soon after the rescue and careful medical examination by Dr Deshmukh who ascertained him to be healthy and fit for release.”