A pair of eight-week-old leopard cubs were found in a sugarcane field in Ale village which falls in the Otur Forest Range of Pune, Maharashtra. These cubs were rescued and reunited with their mother.
In an operation carried out by the Maharashtra Forest Department and Wildlife SOS, an NGO, the two cubs were rescued and reunited with their mother.
On Saturday night, the team placed the cubs in a safe box close to the location from where they were retrieved. To ensure a successful reunion, the rescue team lined the safe box with the cubs’ urine drops, which acts as a scent helping the mother leopard in locating the cubs more easily.
Camera traps captured the heartwarming moment when the mother leopard found her cubs and carefully carried them away to a safer location.
“In order to survive in the wild and learn the skills of survival, it is crucial for leopard cubs to be reared by their mothers for the first two years of their lives."Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder and CEO, Wildlife SOS.
It is not uncommon for farmers to find leopard cubs who are taking shelter in sugarcane fields in Maharashtra. Farmers often find cubs as young as 15 days to two months old.
The farmers of Maharashtra have to tread very carefully because harvest season coincides with the birthing period of leopards. "The dense sugarcane fields foster a suitable shelter for the leopards to breed in and nurture their cubs but this also gives rise to conflict situations. This is the second reunion operation we have conducted this month,” said Dr Nikhil Bangar, Veterinary Officer, Wildlife SOS.
Living in close proximity to the leopards, the farmers and local communities play a significant role in conflict mitigation and encouraging the idea of co-existence.
"Reunification is a sensitive matter and to ensure it goes off smoothly, we install remotely operated cameras and camera traps, which helps in surveillance as well as documentation of the entire process,” said Satyanarayan.