Two month old leopard cub is enjoying holistic care at Wildlife SOS

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Chaitraly Deshmukh Tajane

A 2-month-old leopard cub found abandoned in a sugarcane field last year is receiving utmost care at the Wildlife SOS Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre located in Junnar division, Maharashtra.

The leopard, fondly called Simba, was rescued by Wildlife SOS and the Forest Department. Almost a year ago, villagers from the Kolwade Village located in Sangamner range of Maharashtra found a lone leopard cub being chased by a pack of feral dogs. Trained in preliminary protocol, the villagers immediately contacted the Maharashtra Forest Department.

The Wildlife SOS team operating out of the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre in Junnar division was called in for reinforcements. The expansion of the sugarcane plantations in Maharashtra is slowly encroaching upon the wildlife animals’ territory. These displaced felines utilize the tall sugarcane grass to.camouflage. Consequently, the villagers often encounter cubs in these areas leading to potentially risky situations for both humans and leopards alike. Wildlife SOS veterinary doctor, Dr. Nikhil Bangar identified the cub as a 2-month-old male. An on-site medical examination also revealed that the cub had sustained a minor injury from the dog attack and he was also suffering from isolation.

After providing the cub with medical care, he was placed in a safe box to be reunited with his mother. Despite several attempts, the mother and cub could not be reunited. Simba, rehabilitated at the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre by the Forest Department, has now grown into a stronger and healthier creature.

Talking about Simba, Dr. Nikhil Bangar, Wildlife Veterinary Officer, Wildlife SOS, said, “Leopard cubs are unable to survive in the wild without their mothers. This is because the mother teaches her cubs basic survival skills such as hunting, where to hide, and which areas to venture into. Without his mother, Simba is unfit to survive in the wild and thus requires prolonged care.”

Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, said, “The circumstances that brought Simba to our centre are undeniably heartbreaking, but given the harsh realities wildlife is facing, we can amplify our efforts to conserve leopards in India. We do not know what happened to Simba’s mother, but to ensure that leopards do not face similar consequences, we can campaign for better protection of leopards by creating awareness.”

Geeta Seshamani, co-founder and Secretary of Wildlife SOS said, “Unaware of how to survive in a jungle, Simba will never be able to return to the wild. For us, raising a leopard cub is the last resort.”