Indore (Madhya Pradesh): The leopard cub that had been missing for the last five days was found miraculously at the forest department's office in Navratanbagh, nearly two and a half kilometres from the city zoo, where forest officials had been searching for him. The eight-month-old injured cub appeared very weak and he was taken to the Kamla Nehru Prani Sanghralaya immediately.
The Rescue Operation
After the leopard cub was spotted, the forest team surrounded it from all sides and slowly cornered it in a field and cut all its escape routes. When the cub spotted the team it tried to run away, but it was so weak due to its injury and from hunger that he could not even run properly. The forest team caught him easily and sedated him to reduce his trauma. The forest officials carried him in their arms like a baby and put him in a cage and taken to the Indore zoo for treatment. The cub, which is around eight months old had not eaten for the last six days said officials.
Local resident informed forest about leopard
“A resident of Navratanbagh area named Ashish Gupta dogs were barking very loudly and appeared very agitated so there was a possibility that the leopard might be nearby. We searched Radio Colony and other areas near the forest department but did not find anything," said Narendra Pandwa, Divisional forest officer (DFO). "In the morning we were mapping the area and planning to find the leopard when we spotted it behind the office. It was literally sitting beside us! Pandwa said.
Cub would have died in the wild
“The leopard has been sedated and taken to city zoo for now. It will be under observation and care for a couple of days until it recovers. We can further decide whether it will become capable of surviving in the wild or not. It has not hunted for the last six days so it was starving. The other parameters seem to be normal. The animal is dehydrated. Rehydration and treatment shall help animal to get back to action soon. We will now be focusing on strengthening the rescue team and the equipment being used,” said Pandwa.
Condition of the leopard is ‘not good’
“The leopard is injured and both of its hind legs are paralysed. There is hardly any movement in its tail as well, and it's not possible for it to even walk properly,” claimed zoo in-charge Dr Uttam Yadav, after examining the health condition of the wildcat. “We fed it chicken and water, and are keeping a watch on its movement,” added Yadav.
Leopard escaped before reaching city zoo?
A theory doing the rounds among the zoo department officials to which the zoo-incharge Dr Uttam Yadav subscribes is that the leopard never reached the city zoo in the first place. The forest department vehicle had halted at the forest office at Navratanbagh and it must have escaped while being brought to the zoo. It must have been hiding in the mini forest area near the forest office all the while. However, forest officials denied such a possibility. “I am pretty sure, the truck never reached Navratanbag. The cub somehow managed to cover the distance (two and a half kilometres) and negotiate the traffic,” CCF HS Mohanta said.