An approx. 7-year-old female leopard escaped a narrow brush with death after falling into a 50-foot-deep well in Pimpalgaon Rotha village in Parner range, Maharashtra. The animal was rescued by Wildlife SOS & the Forest Department and after mandatory observation, has been released back into the wild.

In an unexpected turn of events, an adult leopardess found itself on the verge of drowning in a 50-foot-deep open well in Pimpalgaon village on Monday. At around 9:00 am, residents of the village were startled by the panicked roars, echoing from deep within the open well. Fearing that the leopard may not survive much longer in the waist deep water, the villagers immediately alerted the forest department who in turn called  Wildlife SOS team that manages the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Center in Junnar.

A four-people team was immediately dispatched to the location. While the Wildlife SOS team drove nearly 80 kilometres to reach the location, a team of forest officers rushed to the village to assess the situation. With the help of the villagers, they lowered a platform into the well so that the terrified leopard could clamber onto the makeshift platform for temporary support.

Once the Wildlife SOS team arrived at the scene, a trap cage was lowered into the well, it’s open door angled towards the leopard. Almost grateful for a dry spot to move onto, the leopard jumped into the cage and was quickly lifted out of the well. Meanwhile, the Forest Department managed the huge crowd of curious onlookers, to prevent any unnecessary panic or resultant mishaps.

Dr. Ajay Deshmukh, Senior Veterinarian at the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre said, ““The leopard was in a state of panic and had to be rescued immediately. The team first lowered a platform into the well to give the leopard a chance to clamber out of the water and onto a safe space before lowering a trapping cage in and successfully lifting it out of the well. The leopard is a seven-year-old female and after conducting a through physical examination we concluded that it was healthy and fit for release.”

Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder & CEO of Wildlife SOS said, “The chief concern of the Wildlife SOS team centers around the well-being of the animal and their safe return to the natural habitat. The entire exercise had to be quickly executed with painstaking care. We are extremely grateful to the forest department for their cooperation and for helping manage the crowd that had gathered to catch a glimpse of the trapped animal. Existing on the periphery of human settlements, there is a need to initiate and implement ways for mutual coexistence for humans and animals and stay vigilant in order to reduce such conflict related issues.”

Manisha Bhinge, Range Forest Officer, Parner range, said, “We always approach Wildlife SOS’  team for any leopard rescue matters, and this time too, this dangerous operation was only possible because of the timely assistance and help from their team.”

In the last decade around 1,500 animals, including leopards, jackals, jungle cats, sambars and hyenas have reportedly died after falling into open wells and uncovered water tanks, making these a growing threat to wildlife in Maharashtra. You can sign Wildlife SOS’ on-going petition asking concerned authorities to fence areas around open wells or cover them so that the lives of many innocent animals and people can be saved here: http://bit.ly/2rbr7Kl

For more information contact Suvidha Ph. 9560011875/9148409475 – email news@wildlifesos.org
Wildlife SOS (WSOS) is a non-profit charity established in 1998 with the primary objective of rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife in distress across India. We actively run wildlife and nature protection projects to promote conservation, combat poaching & illegal wildlife trade. We work in partnership with the Government and indigenous communities to create sustainable livelihoods for erstwhile poacher communities. The Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center was established in 2010 & houses over 20 elephants with elephant care facilities.

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