Green Minute News:

Incidents of leopards falling in wells situated outside villages in rural India has become a very common occurrence. People as well as forest officials have remained vigilant and rescued them often from the jaws of death. On 19th morning, a local farmer found a young leopard trapped in a 70 foot deep well in Ballalwadi located in Junnar sub-division of Pune district in Maharashtra state. 

A local farmer first spotted the leopard near a field in the early hours but he decided to steer clear of the wild animal’s path. A few minutes later, he heard frantic roars echoing from a nearby well. A leopard had fallen into a deep well and was struggling to stay afloat in waist deep water. 

The incident was immediately reported to the State Forest Department and the Wildlife SOS team which operates out of the Leopard Rescue Center in Junnar. A three member rescue team led by Wildlife SOS veterinary officer Dr. Nikhil Bangar accompanied a team of forest officers to the location with necessary rescue equipment. Villagers were flocking around the well to catch a glimpse of the leopard so crowd control measures too had to be implemented.

A trap cage was then lowered into the well and after a few attempts, the leopard successfully climbed into the trap cage and was rescued from a near death situation. After being carefully loaded onto the back of the rescue vehicle, the leopard was transferred to the Rescue Centre for medical examination. The leopard is a male, just a little over a year old. The animal was exhausted from the ordeal and will be kept under observation for a few days till he is deemed fit for release in the wild.

Junnar Deputy Conservator of Forests Jayaramegowda R said, “Rescue operations involving leopards can be dangerous and need careful planning to ensure the safety of the animal as well as of the people. With assistance from wildlife NGO, our teams have been trained to conduct such operations effectively.”

Kartick Satyanarayan, CEO, Wildlife SOS said, “Leopards adapt to surviving around human dominated landscapes which brings them into close contact with humans leading to such situations. We were able to assist the Forest Department with timely intervention to save the leopard’s life.”

Maharashtra is a stronghold for leopard population in India but over the years, these elusive wild cats that once roamed freely across the vast terrains of the Western Ghats have had to adapt to the ever-changing landscape. This is a direct result of human induced factors like habitat destruction, rapid urbanization and encroachment of forests.

The Indian leopard is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ under the IUCN Red List and their population is estimated to be around 12,000-14,000 only.