The leopard sits the empty room, enjoying the private, cozy dry spot he has discovered in the otherwise rainy city of Agra. He has found an unclaimed slipper in the dusty room, and is playfully tossing about the little rubber article of footwear. Despite the obvious piece of evidence of human presence he holds between his golden paws, the animal is convinced he is far from the crowds and urban development that are slowly infiltrating the region’s jungles that he calls home, and so he curls up in a corner and shuts his eyes for a nap.
His peace is short-lived, however. The discovery of a leopard in their home leaves a family in Agra in a frightful tizzy, barricading the room and hurriedly calling the Forest Department for help. The call is immediately transferred to the Agra Bear Rescue Facility, run by Wildlife SOS in the state, and a frantic homeowner informs our rescue team of the big cat’s presence in his home.
Situations like this are rare, but increasing in a country where development takes precedence over conservation efforts and animals find their natural habitats being compromised for expanding cities and exploding populations. The rescue team knows how crucial a single minute is in such cases, and wastes no time in getting together rescue equipment and mobilising the team towards the district of Ferozabad, where a young predator has no idea he has caused a frenzy of terrified chaos.
Dr. Ilayaraja Selvaraj and Dr. Arun A. Sha, both senior veterinarians with Wildlife SOS, survey the scene carefully, planning their next step. The family has successfully locked the leopard in the room, and the Forest Department and Wildlife SOS team are controlling the throngs of locals gathering to catch a glimpse of the action. A brick is loosened, then knocked out of the wall of the room, and Dr. Arun’s eyes peer through the gap to assess the situation within. The chaos has awoken the leopard, who throws furtive glances at its blocked escape route- the closed door- and the hole in the wall of the room he is now trapped in.
Estimating the weight of the animal, Dr. Arun concludes that it’s a young, healthy male and the dosage of tranquilising drugs is loaded into a dart accordingly. He aims the blowdart at the cat while Dr. Ilayaraja fires the needle. The leopard is startled momentarily, but finds itself slowly losing consciousness. Ten minutes, and the animal is sound asleep.
The rescue team swoops in and the big cat is transferred to the rescue vehicle following a preliminary health inspection by the two vets that reveals no cause for immediate concern. A ride back to the Wildlife SOS sanctuary follows and the animal is kept under the careful observation of our staff and veterinarians for a few days while permission for its release is arranged. Freed into its natural habitat shortly after its rescue, the leopard probably barely remembers the incident, but for one unsuspecting family in Ferozabad, the leopard that dropped in for a visit isn’t a story they’re going to be forgetting any time soon!