A Happy Ending: Positive human intervention ensures a lost two-month-old leopard cub reunites with its mother
A heart-warming story of a little leopard cub, separated from its mother due to human activity. And reunited with her, due to human activity.
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It is a story of heartwarming coexistence between man and wildlife. It is the story of a lost leopard cub, his mother and some humans who wanted to reunite the two.
In the Nagapur village, Ambegaon taluka in Pune district, the villagers spotted a tiny cub — no larger than a kitten and estimated to be no more than two months old.
Instead of harming the tiny cub, the farmers raised an alarm with the local forestry officials.
The tiny male cub was apparently separated from its mother after being lost in the fields amid the tall and ready-to-harvest sugarcane crops. This is an area where farming and man-made activities are increasingly encroaching on the territory of the leopards. The season also played truant as this is the pre-harvest and harvest season when the dense and tall vegetation makes a convenient shelter for the leopards to breed in and nurture their cubs — also for the cubs to stray away from the mother and be lost.
The lost leopard cub being examined by wildlife veterinarian Ajay Deshmukh. (Photo: Wildlife SOS)
The villagers — worried about being attacked by the mother looking for her offspring — reportedly wanted the cub taken far away to prevent any conflict, officials in the forest range office, Ambegaon, told DailyO.
The leopard cub placed safely inside a crate, so it could be reunited with its mother. (Photo: Wildlife SOS)
The forest department officials — instead of packing the cub off to the nearest zoo (where it would have either died or worse, been captive for the rest of its life) — arranged for a rescue operation to be organised by the NGO, Wildlife SOS. The team managed to persuade the villagers to reunite mother and cub.
The NGO officials reportedly arranged for the entire process of ensuring that the mother leopard found the cub in an emotional rescue operation.
The NGO arranged apparently for the entire process to be video captured on a night-vision camera.
The footage shows the heart-warming moment mother and cub meet once more.
The young leopard was reportedly placed inside a clear plastic box, and placed in the same field where it was initially found. Soon, the mother heard the cries of the cub. The video shows the wary mother cautiously sniffing the plastic box. The box had been secured with a stone on the lid. The mother nudged it to the side and released the cub. While it is initially scared by the falling device, the mother is then seen creeping nervously over to the cub in the box.
As the little cub came out, the mother begins to lick it all over — before picking it up by the neck and disappearing back into the jungle.
The mother leopard finds her lost cub. (Photo: Wildlife SOS)
According to wildlife veterinarian Ajay Deshmukh, a member of the rescue team, “The mother leopard emerged at around 9:30 p.m. and was reassured on finding the cub unharmed. This operation underlines why we make every effort to ensure cubs are reunited with their mothers when possible.”
Deshmukh further added that this was the 52nd successful rescue operation conducted by the team in reuniting cubs with their mothers — where they would be raised in a natural way in the habitat, rather than ending up in captivity.
Prayjot Palve, the Range Forest Officer confirmed the rescue operation, and reportedly said, “We, in the department, are aware of the past reunions (between the mother leopards and the cubs) conducted by Wildlife SOS. On learning about the leopard cub, we reached out to them for assistance. The NGO has been very supportive of our efforts to mitigate man-leopard conflict and spreading awareness.”
Happy reunion: The leopardess walking away with her cub. (Photo: Wildlife SOS)
While our little spotted boy was lucky, many others aren't.
As a socially aware and responsible person, if you do find a young one of any animal separated from the mother, do try and locate the mother to unite the two. If you can't, then at least contact and inform the local forest department.
Every baby deserves a chance to grow up with their mother around.