Junnar, 27th November 2021: Three 45-day-old leopard cubs were found in a sugarcane field in Umbraj Village located in Otur forest range of the Junnar division in Maharashtra.
In a successful rescue and conservation effort by Wildlife SOS and the Maharashtra Forest Department, the lost cubs were safely reunited with their mother.
On Thursday, sugarcane farmers discovered three leopard cubs in Umbraj Village located in Otur forest range of Junnar division, Maharashtra. Accustomed to catching occasional glimpses of leopards around the area, they immediately reported the incident to the Forest Department. The forest officers rushed to the spot along with a team of experts from Wildlife SOS.
Wildlife SOS veterinary doctor, Dr. Nikhil Bangar conducted an on-site examination of the young leopards to ascertain their age and and to check if they are suffering from any wounds or showing signs of dehydration.The cubs, identified as two males and a female, were estimated to be about 45-days-old.
Post-checkup, the team arranged for the cubs to be reunited with their mother and took them back to the field where the farmers had found them. Remote-controlled camera traps installed by Wildlife SOS documented the mother leopard approaching her cubs at midnight. She picked them up, one by one, by the scruff of the neck and took them to a safer area.
Dr. Nikhil Bangar, Wildlife Veterinary Officer, Wildlife SOS, said, “We checked the cubs for ticks and injuries and the examination confirmed that they were healthy. Reuniting cubs that have been separated from their mothers is very important at such a crucial stage as leopard mothers turn very aggressive out of sheer distress, thus inviting an incident of direct conflict.”
Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, said, “Living in close quarters with leopards, the local communities and farmers play a very important role in conflict mitigation and encouraging the idea of co-existence. We thank the villagers for making the right call by reporting the incident, so timely action could be taken to reunite the cubs with their mother.”
VM Kakde, RFO Otur, said “During this season the cutting of sugar cane fields takes place and it is here that we find numerous leopard cubs. 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.”
In the past decade, Wildlife SOS and Maharashtra Forest Department have successfully reunited over 80 cubs with their mothers, especially during the peak harvest season.