Video Credit: AsiaWire/Wildlife SOS
Two leopard cubs separated from their mothers on the same day have been reunited in operations by a wildlife charity.
It is currently the time of year where most leopard cubs are born and it also coincides with the harvest season for sugarcane and other crops, resulting in mother leopards that believe their offspring are safely hidden in dense foliage suddenly being exposed.
In order to reunite mother and cub quickly, the animal charity Wildlife SOS places the cub in a box where its calls can be heard by its mother and where it is also at the same time safe from predators.
Pictures Credit: AsiaWire/Wildlife SOS
In both of the two current reunions, that were filmed on the same day, the mother leopard turns up and frees the cub from the box before both disappear into the jungle.
The first incident happened on Monday evening when sugarcane farmers in Vadgaon Anand village in the state of Maharashtra found a cub and raised the alarm with the organisation.
Together with the Forest Department, the Wildlife SOS team, which works from the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre, set off together with vet Dr Ajay Deshmukh, and one on the way there they got a call about a second leopard cub that had been found at Golegaon village, in Junnar.
They then split up in order to stage separate operations to reunite mothers and cubs, with Dr Deshmukh heading to Vadgaon, and veterinary assistant Mahendra Dhore heading over to Golegaon.
After checking that both of the cubs were healthy, they were placed inside boxes with remote-controlled cameras set up to record what happened.
Dr Deshmukh said: “Both the leopard cubs were males. The one from Vadgaon Anand village was approximately 10-weeks-old, whereas the other was approx. 13-weeks-old. Such reunions are of great importance in order to curb conflict situations. If female leopards are unable to locate their cubs, it is natural for them to turn defensive or aggressive and they pose an immediate threat to humans in close proximity. It is also immensely rewarding to know that these cubs will now have a chance at a free life in the wild.”
Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, told Asia Wire: “Wildlife SOS often receives calls for lost leopard cub sightings during the pre-harvest and harvest season. The dense sugarcane fields foster a suitable shelter for the leopards to breed in and nurture their cubs. The team at the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre has in the past rescued leopards from man-leopard conflict situations and has also carried successful reunions, the most recent being a leopard cub reunion near Nagarpur village, Maharashtra. The team aims at working closely with the Forest Department to raise awareness among the villagers to promote a positive attitude towards leopards and endorse a feeling of co-existence.”
Bapu Yele, Range Forest Officer (Ottur), said: “The Wildlife SOS team is extremely cooperative and has always responded timely to each call of rescue. The Forest Department and the Wildlife SOS team have carried out many such rescue and reunion operations in the region, as we recently also rescued two male adult leopards from drowning in a 50-foot deep well from a village in Ottur. The NGO does excellent work to mitigate man-leopard conflict situations in the state.“