Remembering Shivani

March 13, 2024 | By Natasha Ashok
Help us spread the news. Please share our lifesaving work on your social media.
[Sassy_Social_Share style="text-align:center"]

In March 2024, our beloved leopard, Shivani, bid us farewell, leaving an indelible mark on all our hearts. As we at Wildlife SOS mourn the loss of an incredible leopard, our team looks back at the numerous cherishable memories she has left behind.

Resilient Shivani came to Wildlife SOS' MLRC as a young cub of 3 months old
As we recall Shivani’s lifelong journey at MLRC, we celebrate her inspiring resilience and majestic presence at the centre. [Photo credits © Wildlife SOS/ Akash Dolas]

Shivani was just a three-month-old cub when she was rescued from the village of Belha in the Narayangaon district of Maharashtra. She was found inside a sugarcane field, and her rosetted golden coat revealed weak, protruding ribs. Barely the size of a human forearm, the cub was helplessly mewling for her mother, and it became instantly evident the cub had been alone and unfed for a rather long time. This unfortunate separation was likely due to her mother having been killed, which led to the immediate transportation of the fragile, infant leopard to the Wildlife SOS Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre (MLRC) in Junnar, Maharashtra.

Shivani resided in a large enclosure that recreated the beauty of natural wild surroundings with its lush foliage. [Photo credits © Wildlife SOS/ Akash Dolas]

During her initial days at the centre, Shivani had an unfortunate encounter with another leopard which ended up in her losing her right forelimb. The veterinary team had worked tirelessly around the clock to somehow save the baby leopard’s limb, and her life. The tragic mishap left her with three limbs, and a great regret among the team.

Shivani's caregiver designs specially tailored enrichments in her enclosure for her
Shivani was given a variety of enrichments that were specifically tailored to suit her needs, and she thoroughly enjoyed while engaging with them. [Photo credits © Wildlife SOS/ Akash Dolas]

However, her fast recovery and subsequent adaptability reassured us to continue our unwavering care for her. To celebrate her promising strength, the cub was named Shivani, another name of mighty Goddess Durga.

Shivani fought against all odds and emerged as a force of nature. She grew up to be a strong-willed and inspiring leopard, who never let the missing limb become a challenge. Shivani was a testament to resilience, always active as she bounded about her enclosure. Her indomitable spirit shone through, captivating the hearts of everyone who had the privilege of witnessing her.

Shivani loves her platform enrichment made for her by her caregiver
Despite her handicap, Shivani displayed marvellous energy and had a penchant for perching on elevated spots. [Photo credits © Wildlife SOS/ Akash Dolas]

Shivani was around seven years of age when she met another leopard named Sitara. The two formed a remarkable connection, and could often be seen engaging in playful bouts of mock-wrestling or sharing peaceful grooming sessions. With Sitara’s companionship, Shivani evolved into a mischievous and bold leopard, and would run around the enclosure with her friend. She would confidently climb atop the platforms or logs that were created for her, and observe the centre’s activities from a height.

Rainy days resting on her platform are this resilient leopards favourite time of the year in Wildlife SOS' MLRC
Shivani loved to mount and rest on her wooden platforms, even on rainy days! [Photo credits © Wildlife SOS/ Akash Dolas]

Shivani’s fondness for the monsoons was one of a kind! Unlike most leopards, she would run around in the wet mud for hours when it rained. After this, she would curl up on one of her platforms, allowing the raindrops to form shiny crystals on her beautiful coat. These simple acts were a profound expression of how secure and cheerful she was. At MLRC, such instances were truly a sight to behold for the caregivers, who would constantly look out for each of her needs.

After Sitara's passing, Shivani became more reclusive and shy
Shivani grew up in an environment that closely resembles the wild, which also allowed her innate instincts to flourish. [Photo credits © Wildlife SOS/ Akash Dolas]

Sitara passed away as an old leopard a few years ago, and soon, Shivani retreated into a more reclusive and shy demeanour. Even in the presence of her own caregiver and veterinarian, she would often slink into the foliage within her enclosure or hide away in her den for extended periods of time. Losing Sitara had left a great impact on Shivani, and such signs of emotional vulnerability are uncommon among leopards, as they are known for being solitary in the wild. Her caregiver took cognisance of this and provided her with suitable enrichments to keep her engaged. As a geriatric leopard, Shivani would take slow strolls and frequent naps in her field, and her dedicated caregivers and the medical team made sure she remained relaxed and comfortable.

Shivani aged from a 3-month-old cub to a resilient 15-year-old adult
As Shivani aged, and also lost her dear companion Sitara, she became increasingly reclusive. [Photo credits © Wildlife SOS/ Akash Dolas]

Shivani departed peacefully after 15 wonderful years. From a frail and tiny cub that had arrived at MLRC on January 26th, 2009, Shivani blossomed into a robust and resilient leopard, and incorporated an extraordinary elegance in her senior years — leaving us all in awe and admiration. As her vibrant spirit gracefully transitions to explore the world beyond the physical realm, we keep the tales of her strength, and the joy she radiated, close to our hearts.

Share With


Related Posts

Our Social Media

Hotline Number | हॉटलाइन नंबर

Delhi NCT Region +91-9871963535
Agra Region (UP) +91-9917109666
Vadodra Region +91-9825011117
J&K Region +91 7006692300
+91 9419778280