In what can be considered a successful conservation effort, Wildlife S.O.S. with help from the Maharashtra Forest Department reunited a 2 week old Leopard cub with his mother in Ottur range of Maharashtra.
The 15 day old cub was found in a sugarcane field in Dhonwar village of Ottur range, by some local villagers. They informed the Forest Department who in turn brought the cub to the Wildlife S.O.S. run Manickdoh Leopard Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre on the same day that it was found. The cub was very healthy and from his health and age it could be assumed that he was still nursing.
The Wildlife S.O.S. team led by Dr. Karabi investigated the case and discovered that an adult leopard was regularly sighted by villagers in that area over the last few weeks and so it was deduced that she must be the mother and the cub must have been born somewhere near the sugarcane field. Dr. Karabi of Wildlife S.O.S. said, â€œWe spoke to the DCF, Junnar Forest Division and discussed the case with him. It was mutually decided to release the cub in the same place and then monitor it. Accordingly the next day, which was two days after the cub was first found, we planned and brought the cub to the original place where he was found. A monitoring team of five members which included the forest guards, the farm owner and Wildlife S.O.S. staff was engaged to monitor the cub and we decided to release it in the evening as the mother would be more comfortable with the cover of darkness and was sure to show up looking for the cub.â€
The team left the box holding the cub open, at a distance of 30 metres away and started awaiting the mother. They did not have to wait long as the mother showed up after 45 minutes and started grooming and nursing the cub. She rested with the cub for some time at the same spot. The team put off the lights once the mother arrived. For one hour there was no movement. So the team members put on a dim torch and saw her eyes shining in the same place. She had not moved from that place in all that time. The team then moved back and away from the place.
â€œAfter an hour around 10: 30 pm, when the team went back to check they could not spot the mother or the cub. Next morning we went to check the place once again. There we found pugmark of the mother near the box in which we had left the cub. We think the mother was waiting for the monitoring team to move away before moving the cub to another place. All in all it was a job well done by everyone around.â€ said Dr Karabi of Wildlife S.O.S.
Subhas Shelke, DCF Junnar said â€œWe are happy that we could reunite the cub with the mother. The whole exercise was well planned and executed and both the forest department personnel and the Wildlife S.O.S. team have done a commendable job.