Pune: A mother leopard cautiously but happily reunited with her two cubs which had been caught by farmers but later left in a field for her to spot.
The Wildlife SOS and the Maharashtra Forest Department filmed the beautiful reunion in a sugarcane field near Somatwadi village near Pune.
Wildlife experts said several lessons were learnt while filming the reunion on Wednesday night.
The film and photo documents released by Wildlife SOS on Thursday showed that big cats don’t give up on their babies and that rescuers must try reconciliation before thinking of their rehabilitation, experts said.
The farmers found the three-week-old cubs while harvesting sugarcane.
They called forest officials fearing the wrath of the mother leopard who was reportedly lurking nearby in search of her missing cubs.
“We placed the cubs in a safe box and kept them at the same spot where they were found… After hours of waiting, the mother leopard came looking for them and took them away. The photos show how much she missed them,” Ajay Deshmukh, Senior Veterinarian at the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre, told IANS.
Deshmukh said the healthy cubs were scared. Since 2009, Wildlife SOS has reunited about 60 leopard cubs with their mothers.
“We learn from this documentation that rescuers must not give up by relocating or shifting the cubs in zoo. The primary aim should be to reunite,” Deshmukh said.
Due to shrinking forest cover, big cats, especially leopards, find the sugarcane fields a suitable shelter for giving birth and rearing the cubs.
But the cubs often get separated when their mother leopards go for a hunt.
“It is not uncommon to spot leopards in this area… But this also gives rise to conflict situations when farmers harvest sugarcane,” said Sanjay Gaikwad, a forest department official.
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