Leopards are quick to adapt to changes in the environment. This is the reason why they have managed to survive near villages and towns in recent times when their habitat is being rapidly taken over by human beings. It is due to dire necessity for food; owing to the diminishing population in their prey that leopards are forced to prey on domestic animals such as dogs, goats and livestock. This in turn leads to situations where the leopard is the victim.
Recently there was a leopard in distress at Kailancha village near Ramnagara near Bangalore, prompting the Range officer of Ramnagara Forest Division to call in the Bannerghatta Bear Rescue team in Bangalore, managed by Wildlife SOS in the late hours of the night. The feline in trouble was a juvenile leopard cub that had fallen into a deep, uncovered and unused dry water tank accidentally. The deep concrete tank was situated on a private property bordering the forest. The cries of the leopard brought in villagers, who prudently contacted the Forest Department for assistance.
Early next morning, a six member team including Wildlife SOS Veterinary Director – Dr. Arun A Sha along with three forest officials rushed to the spot carrying tranquilizing and rescue equipment. The terrified and exhausted leopard cub had been trapped inside the tank for nearly twelve hours.
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Having assessed the situation, the veterinarian tranquilized the leopard and patiently waited until it had been sedated. Then two trained members of the team climbed down into the tank and rescued the sleeping leopard on to a stretcher and then by animal ambulance to Bannerghatta for observation.
The 15- month old male leopard was found to be unhurt and fit to be released in to the wild. The same evening, the team were out on the 40-km journey back to Ramnagara to assist the Forest Department in carrying out the safe release of the cub in its familiar environs.
Leopards, being highly territorial by nature are likely to survive best only if released in the same area. Chances of survival in the wild for a leopard diminishes when released in a different area.
Uncovered water tanks and open wells are a death trap for many species such as jungle cats, civets, leopards and other nocturnal animals in the wild living in proximity to human beings. Tanks or wells not in use must be covered so as to not pose a risk to unsuspecting animals as well as human beings. Appropriate steps must be taken in the interest of public safety and wildlife welfare to prevent such incidents from repeating in the future.
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