Three months into the New Year and this heartwarming story of a reunion will fill you with a renowned sense of hope and happiness! The season of harvest announces its arrival in the country and directly coincides with the breeding season for leopards, who use the thick foliage of the sugarcane fields to give birth. The shielding from the tall crop shelters their cubs from predators as well as allows them to nurse the cubs.
While preparing to harvest his crop, a farmer, in Vadgaon Kandali village, heard peculiar cries emerging from the middle of his field. Upon taking a closer look, he was greeted with the most unexpected sight – not one, but three leopard cubs! Understanding the gravity of the situation, the farmer immediately alerted the Maharashtra Forest Department and Wildlife SOS.
Two rescue units from the Wildlife SOS Leopard Rescue Centre in Maharashtra and the Forest Department reached the location, with the necessary medical equipment and kits to examine the cubs. The on-site examination of leopard cubs is conducted to ascertain their age and whether or not they are wounded or suffering from any infection or showing signs of dehydration. As examined by our Wildlife Veterinary Officer, Dr. Nikhil Bangar, the leopard cubs were estimated to be only-weeks-old and identified as two males and one female.
Our priority upon finding leopard cubs in situations like these is to arrange for an immediate reunion with the mother. The team carefully placed the three cubs in a safe-box after the health examination was completed and kept the safe box in the same place where they were found. Having successfully reunited over 80 cubs with their mothers, we were positive that the worried mother leopard would come looking for her cubs.
To avoid any kind of disturbance during the reunion, our team installed trap cameras all around the site, so they could keep a close eye. Within 30 minutes, a mother leopard was seen approaching the field and the cubs were responding to her presence by mewling loudly. She carefully scanned her surroundings and was quick to tip the safe-box over, with the cubs being delighted to see their mother again!
She picked them up, one by one, by the scruff of the neck and took them to a safer area. Out of sheer panic and fear, the cubs constantly vocalize and call out to their mother. We often line the safe box with scent markings like the cub’s urine drops to help the mother leopard locate her cubs, making such reunions easier.
Living in close quarters with leopards, the local communities and farmers play a very important role in conflict mitigation and encouraging the idea of co-existence. We are thankful to the kind Samaritans of the Vadgaon Kandali village for helping the cubs by taking the right call!
You can watch the heartwarming reunion, right here.