Spotlight On Mahi, The Leopard On The Lookout!  

February 3, 2024 | By Aisha Siddiqui
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Situated in the Western Ghats, globally acclaimed as a biological hotspot, the Junnar region  is a lush and agrarian haven. Stretching over 1,300 kilometres, it graces the landscape with several protected forest areas that provide sanctuary to one of India’s stealthiest predators — the leopard. Junnar is also where Wildlife SOS Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre (MLRC) is located. Our team from this facility has orchestrated several successful rescues, adeptly reuniting numerous leopard cubs with their mothers. This centre is also where several leopards, deftly rescued from wells as deep as 80 feet, have found a safe shelter.

[Photo © Wildlife SOS/Akash Dolas]

Mahi’s narrative is one among the stories of many leopards who have been victims of various anthropogenic pressures on their natural habitats. Caught amidst an escalating human-leopard conflict within the region, Mahi was rescued in 2022 by the Maharashtra Forest Department. Understanding the need for his long-term care, the forest department sought the reliable and compassionate assistance of Wildlife SOS. Since then, Mahi has been residing at MLRC, where his well-being is being ensured.

[Photo © Wildlife SOS/Akash Dolas]

The six-year-old leopard remains true to his natural instincts by being a shy and elusive feline. Demonstrating a cautious and observant nature, Mahi gives close attention to his environment. One can witness Mahi’s exceptional behaviour when he lands on “the skywalk”, an overhead bridge that connects the two sections of the leopard’s enclosure. This skywalk, at a height of approximately six feet, serves as Mahi’s perch, providing him a vantage point to oversee his territory and maintain a watchful eye on the world around him. 

[Photo © Wildlife SOS/Akash Dolas]

The skywalk has become Mahi’s favourite spot, and he accesses it using the staircase. The bridge, thoughtfully provided by the Wildlife SOS staff, not only offers him physical exercise, but also stimulates Mahi’s innate curiosity. Once there, he seems to absorb every sight and sound emanating from his enclosure.

[Photo © Wildlife SOS/Akash Dolas]

Despite the solitary nature of leopards, Mahi enjoys the company of Surya, another majestic feline at MLRC who resides in his neighbouring enclosure. This cheerful companionship contributes significantly to Mahi’s psychological well-being. 

Caring for wildlife entails understanding the individual and unique needs of every animal, and Mahi is no exception. His environment is carefully designed to cater to his natural instincts. His enclosure features a tunnel that connects to another additional space, providing Mahi ample room for exploration and play. Wooden logs and a large cement pipe add a stimulating element to Mahi’s surroundings, enriching his habitat that mirrors the diversity of a forested zone.

[Photo © Wildlife SOS/Akash Dolas]

Mahi’s daily routine receives meticulous attention from the dedicated staff at MLRC. Every three months, his faecal sample undergoes testing, which helps the medical team to detect any symptom well in time. Test results have led to the prescription of dietary supplements for Mahi, which includes omega fatty acid. This thorough healthcare plan makes sure young Mahi stays fit. 

[Photo © Wildlife SOS/Akash Dolas]

Mahi completes two years under the attentive care of Wildlife SOS, and witnessing him grow as a healthy leopard has been tremendously rewarding. As we celebrate Mahi as our Leopard Of The Month, we are reminded of the responsibility we all share in preserving wildlife. You can contribute towards the care of rescued leopards at MLRC by donating here

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