The Wildlife S.O.S. team in Junnar Leopard Conservation and Rehabilitation Centre near Mumbai in Maharashtra had to go out on a limb (quite literally) to rescue a Leopard who had fallen into a 60 feet deep dry well and the team lived up to the risky challenge
The adult female leopard weighing about 35 kilos had fallen into the well in the middle of a village called Nimgaon, about 70 kms from the Junnar Leopard Rescue Centre. The local Forest department and other organizations made efforts to rescue the Leopard for about 6 days but were unable to get the leopard out.
Finally Wildlife S.O.S was informed by an animal lover in Mumbai that there was News flash on TV of a leopard trapped in a deep well and she would die if not rescued immediately. The Wildlife SOS team led by Veterinarian Dr.Ajay Deshmukh accompanied by team member Mahendra Dhore rose to the challenge and reached the spot immediately.
The task ahead was risky and very dangerous as the well in which the Leopard was trapped was over sixty feet deep but very narrow. The width was barely four feet which made it impossible to lower any contraption into the well. The team had to ensure their safety while also having to operate tranquilizing equipment to dart the animal.
Everybody was at their wits end, eventually a very narrow platform attached to a hand made crane (READ VERY VERY DANGEROUS) and lowered into the well.
The WSOS team took all possible and available precautions by using safety ropes, carabineers, waist harnesses to ensure they could go down safely. The team was lowered to a depth of fifty feet where the oxygen levels were low and it was getting difficult to breathe.
The WSOS vet managed to dart the leopard with the blowpipe on the fourth attempt and in twenty minutes the leopard was anesthetized and was ready to be lifted out.
The WSOS team then went once again to the bottom of the well to lift the Leopard out. The animal was a beautiful female Leopard aged about three years. According to Dr. Ajay Deshmukh of Wildlife S.O.S “There were no serious external injuries on the Leopard. Her heart beat, temperature and respiration rate became normal soon after the rescue operation. We have micro chipped her and she is under our care and observation presently till the time of her release. This operation was a serious challenge but we are happy that we managed it successfully.”
“It is indeed a rare feat accomplished by the Wildlife S.O.S. team as we had been trying for almost a week with no success but Wildlife S.O.S. managed to complete the rescue in a few good hours. This is the first case of a Leopard falling into such a deep well in Maharashtra and it was fortunate for both the animal as well as us that Wildlife S.O.S. was available to provide assistance at the time of need. We are grateful for their timely help and respect their efficiency.” said DFO, Ahmednagar in whose district the incident took place.
Geeta Seshamani of Wildlife SOS said “We are grateful to the WSOS team for putting their lives at risk to help this animal and also to the forest department and the public for their support and encouragement.”
Humane Society International Australia helps to support the leopard rescue center.