By Bilal Kuchay
This is the heartwarming moment volunteers rescued a female leopard from a 30 foot well.
The seven-year-old leopard had fallen into the well in Otur village in Junnar, in the west-central Indian state of Maharastra, last week.
The animal was first spotted in the well by a local farmer, who approached the well to turn on the pump in the morning and was startled to see the helpless eyes of the trapped animal staring up at him.
Fearing that the leopard may not survive much longer in the waist-deep water, he immediately alerted the forest department who in turn called the Wildlife SOS team that manages the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Center in Junnar.
A team of forest officers and volunteers from Wildlife SOS, an animal welfare non-governmental organisation, rushed to the village to help.
With the help of the villagers, a wooden ladder was lowered into the well so that the terrified leopard could clamber onto the makeshift platform for temporary support.
Visuals show the poor animal inside the well, sitting on a wooden ladder before a trap cage was lowered with its open door angled towards the leopard.
The leopard can be seen immediately jumping into the cage which was quickly lifted out of the well with the help of ropes.
B.C. Yele, range forest officer, said: “Otur village is a leopard-prone area, and these animals frequently visit the neighbourhood in search of easily available prey such as poultry and livestock.
“This often leads to various conflict situations.”
The leopard was taken to the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre where it has been kept under observation.
Dr. Ajay Deshmukh, senior veterinarian at the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre, said: “The animal was exhausted and in severe shock because of the ordeal, and will be kept under observation for a few days till she is deemed fit for release.”
Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS said: “The wells in most villages remain exposed due to lack of proper net covers and they pose a particular danger to Indian leopards, a threatened species nearing extinction.”