Bringing a leopard to safety

August 1, 2013 | By wildlife@dmin
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By Resham Beri

On July 26, we received a call from the Forest Department about a leopard on the loose in the city of Aurangabad.  The leopard was a 3 year old female who had been roaming freely in the Aurangabad city.  She had been trapped by the Forest Department in Gangapur village, a day earlier (about 50 kms from Aurangabad) and had broken free of the cage and was loose in the city limits. We responded to the call by sending our Wildlife Veterinarian and Leopard Expert Dr. Ajay Deshmukh to the location.  On reaching the location, he with the support of Forest Officer Shir A D Bhosale, IFS located the leopard and tranquilized her in a ten hour long operation that was both risky and dangerous.

Following the rescue operation, Shri A D Bhosale, IFS expressing his relief and said, “I have worked closely with Wildlife SOS who manages the Leopard REscue Center in Junnar.  The center in charge Dr. Deshmukh, Wildlife SOS Veterinary Officer is an expert at rescuing and managing leopards.  The leopard was spotted in the heart of the city and could  have harmed anyong.  I am glad  major human-wildife conflict situation was averted by Wildlife SOS rescuing the leopard in time.”

Wildlife SOS veterinariann Dr. Ajay Deshmukh, said, “The main task at hand was to locate the leopard as quickly as possible so there would be no human-wildlife conflict.  We carefully checked the area where she had been housed earlier and then found her in a forested area behind the city forest nursery.  The ten hour long operation was risky but I am glad we were able to avert a major catastrophe.”

Geeta Seshamani, Co-founder of Wildlife SOS said, “Our team worked all through the night to track and locate the leopard before rescuing.  The leopard will be kept under observation before it is released back in the wild.  We are so relieved that a major conflict has been averted.  There is a need for the public to be snesitized and also be more tolerant of wildlife that share the landscape with people.”

The Leopard Rescue Center in Maharshtra houses 29 leopards and is managed by Wildlife SOS in collaboration with Maharashtra Forest Division with support from Humane Society International (HSI), Australia, Terra-et Faune and Wildlife SOS, USA.  Wildlife SOS works toward helping people co-exist with leopards and educating people so they do not fear them.

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