Earlier this year, two leopard cubs were found in separate instances occurring just a few days apart in the fields of the Otur Range in Junnar district by the Maharashtra Forest Department. The officials immediately alerted the Wildlife SOS team for their assistance to treat and care for the abandoned female cubs. On-site examination revealed the leopard cubs to be extremely dehydrated and in a dilapidated condition. After intensive medical assessment, the team realised that both leopard cubs suffered from internal infections. Only a few months old each, they were finally brought to the care of the Wildlife SOS team at the Manikdoh Leopard rescue Centre (MLRC).
Since their rehabilitation, both leopard cubs have received intensive medical treatment from our highly-skilled and experienced veterinary team. As these leopards acclimatise to their new surroundings, they have each revealed unique personality traits. Today, we introduce you to Aditi and Shivshree, the two young ones who have found a new home at MLRC.
When Aditi was rescued and brought to MLRC for lifelong care, she was only about 4 to 5 months old. Ever since her arrival here this January, our team has been providing intensive treatment to bring her back to good health. Twice a day, for nearly 2 to 3 weeks, the veterinary officers had administered her with the necessary medications and antibiotics. The team is now happy to report that Aditi has shown improvement from the vulnerable state that she was found in. Due to her liver being compromised, our veterinary team is providing her with health supplements and multivitamins. Routine health checkups and medical observations are also being undertaken to avoid any complications.
Aditi is aptly named after a Vedic goddess in Hinduism, who is a personification of the infinite cosmos. This young leopard displays accommodating and friendly behaviour, and has an exuberant personality. Since she has been carefully hand-reared by our team, she is now comfortable in the presence of humans and is turning out to be quite the muse for our team’s photographers! She spends her day sitting on wooden logs in her spacious field, occasionally scratching them and marking her territory.
Just like Aditi, Shivshree was brought under the care of Wildlife SOS when she was about 4 to 5 months old. While Shivshree’s condition was slightly better than Aditi’s, she too needed care and attention. Regular health checkups and administration of liver supplements and multivitamins ensure that she leads a healthy life.
The name Shivshree translates to ‘Beauty of Lord Shiva’ in Hindi. This cub is blossoming into a royal leopard. She prefers to spend her time alone and is still slightly wary and shy of human presence. For the most part of the day, one can spot her receding into the thickets in her field, as though she’s playing a game of hide-and-seek. However, Shivshree enthusiastically awaits her meals and comes running to devour all that her caregiver brings!
The Cubs’ Journey With Wildlife SOS
Maharashtra Forest Department and Wildlife SOS attempted the release of the two leopard cubs once they were brought back to health. However, despite several efforts, their mother was not to be found in the nearby area. It was likely that the mother had succumbed to an unfortunate incident, or had abandoned them. Leopard cubs need to remain with their mother for the first two years of their lives to survive in the wild — a long, crucial period during which they learn from her the necessary skills to hunt, forage and feed.
Since the leopard cubs had been hand-raised and had already spent months under our care, it was highly unlikely that they would be able to survive by themselves in the wild. To ensure the safety of humans and wildlife alike, the Maharashtra Forest Department decided that leopard cubs needed to be permanently rehabilitated. The Wildlife SOS team has put their best foot forward in providing them with all the care they need — from medical treatment and healthy diet to an environment that replicates their natural habitat.
The fields are equipped with enrichment items such as bamboo platforms, wooden logs, and so on. These form an integral source of physical and psychological stimulation for them and encourage them to hone their natural skills. Along with these, Aditi and Shivshree are undergoing routine health checkups and procedures to ensure no health problem severely impacts their lives under the care of Wildlife SOS.
What Leads To This?
The state of Maharashtra holds the third largest Indian Leopard (Panthera pardus) population in India. Of the nearly 1,700 leopards, 65 percent are recorded from lands outside the protected areas. The state is also experiencing habitat loss, rampant urbanisation, and thinning of boundaries between forests and human-dominated landscapes. Owing to this, frequent human-leopard encounters are reported from the state. Wildlife SOS officials based out of MLRC in Maharashtra rescue and provide care to leopards that are found in distress. The team is also actively involved in conserving biodiversity and mitigating human-wildlife conflict through training, awareness, and various other initiatives.
Our team has provided utmost care and attention to several rescued leopard cubs that have been rehabilitated at MLRC. The hand-reared leopard cubs have now grown up to be healthy leopards that are now an invaluable part of the Wildlife SOS family! With years of experience and expertise at our hands, we look forward to raising Aditi and Shivshree with all the aid and love they need.
You too can support the care of Aditi and Shivshree at Wildlife SOS by clicking here.