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"Badly injured leopard ferociously charges at rescuing forest official"

"Badly injured leopard ferociously charges at rescuing forest official" 



Story by Sagaya Fernando
Mumbai: 17 May 2018



When most animals in the wild are wounded, they tend to run away and hide. But, not the leopard. When these dangerous big cats of the jungle are injured, they become even more nervous and dangerous. This was felt first hand by a range forest officer in the Indian state of Maharashtra on May 15, when a badly injured leopard which he had set out to rescue came charging at him ferociously.

The leopard, a female, had been hit by an unidentified speeding vehicle on the Chandrapur-Mul Road in Lohara forest on May 14 evening.

“We received the information about this around 6.15 pm. Our Eco Pro volunteers along with the forest department officials rushed to the site. However, due to sunset and ensuing darkness, we couldn’t find the wildcat, and the search and rescue operation had to be suspended. The next day early morning, the search operation was resumed, and after several hours of search in the forest, the injured leopard was tracked to a spot underneath thick shrubs at around 8.30 am. It was badly injured in the accident and both its hind leg was run over, and bones were broken,” said Bandu Dhotre, Honorary Wildlife Warden – Chandrapur, and Founder President of Eco Pro, and environment and wildlife protection NGO.

Rescue workers comprising teams from Chandrapur Range, Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra - Lohara Range, Rapid Response Unit, besides volunteers of NGO Eco-Pro surrounded the wounded animal. In an effort to capture it, the rescuers were trying to trap the leopard in a net after shooting a tranquilizer dart at it. However, the animal did not get sedated completely, and suddenly charged at Chandrapur Range Forest Officer Santosh Thipe, who was leading his team from one side.

A video shot by one of the volunteers accompanying the rescue team shows RFO Thipe calmly tackling the wildcat with just a shield and baton, while the others shouting to distract the leopard.

After the charge on Thipe, rescue workers took no further chances and shot another tranquilizer dart at the animal, successfully sedating it this time. It was then taken to the Transit Treatment Centre at Chandrapur for primary treatment and later shifted to Gorewada Zoo and Wildlife Rescue Centre at Nagpur. Dr. Kundan Podchalwar the veterinarian who provided the primary treatment to the leopard said that the leopard has been left with a fractured femur in the right hind limb. 

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