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Pune: The state forest department and Wildlife SOS on Thursday rescued three 45-day-old leopard cubs from the sugarcane field at Umbraj Village in Otur forest range of Junnar division here. The cubs returned to their mother safely.
The sugarcane farmers discovered three leopard cubs in Umbraj Village. The farmers immideately informed the forest department as soon as they caught glimpses of leopards around the area. Thereafter, the forest officers rushed to the spot along with a team of experts from Wildlife SOS.
Wildlife SOS veterinary doctor, Dr Nikhil Bangar also conducted an on-site examination of the young leopards to ascertain their age and to check if they are suffering from any wounds or showing signs of dehydration. Post-checkup, the team arranged for the cubs to be reunited with their mother and took them back to the field where the farmers had found them.
Dr Nikhil Bangar, Wildlife Veterinary Officer, Wildlife SOS, said, "We checked the cubs for ticks and injuries and the examination confirmed that they were healthy." The cubs, identified as two males and a female, were estimated to be about 45-days-old.
"Reuniting cubs that have been separated from their mothers is very important at such a crucial stage as leopard mothers turn very aggressive out of sheer distress, thus inviting an incident of direct conflict," Dr. Bangar said.
Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, said, living in close quarters with leopards, the local communities and farmers play a very important role in conflict mitigation and encouraging the idea of co-existence.
"We thank the villagers for making the right call by reporting the incident, so timely action could be taken to reunite the cubs with their mother," he said.
VM Kakde, RFO Otur, said "during this season the cutting of sugar cane fields takes place and it is here that we find numerous leopard cubs."
Such incidents are quite common for villagers residing near the scrub forests of Maharashtra, which is the natural habitat of a large population of leopards, he added.
In the past decade, Wildlife SOS and Maharashtra Forest Department have successfully reunited over 80 cubs with their mothers, especially during the peak harvest season.