Forest fire separates leopard from her cub, experts doubt its survival

Forest fire separates leopard from her cub, experts doubt its survival

11 April 2018

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INDIA – The big cat strayed into Satara city after locals set land on fire. A loud cracker scared her away, leaving the cub behind

Despite taking several measures, incidents of man-animal conflict continue to occur in various regions. In yet another shocking incident that came to light, a 11-month-old leopard cub got separated from its mother.

The leopard family was repeatedly sighted near Ajinkya Tara fort in Satara. But after the locals set a forest on fire to clear the land, the animals moved in the direction of the city.

Narrating the entire incident, Amit Sayeed, president, Wildlife Protection and Research Society, said, “Since the past few days, five adult leopards and four cubs were regularly sighted in the area. After a fire on the hill, a female leopard along with her two cubs moved closer to the city. When the animals reached closer to human habitat, a huge crowd gathered to catch a glimpse. This was when the big cat was trying to look for a place to relocate her cubs. While she managed to relocate one of her cubs, she ended up losing the other after a loud burst of cracker shooed her away.”

After this incident that occurred some 10 days ago, the residents set another patch of land on fire to scare the leopards away without understanding the consequences on the wildlife.

Sayeed continued, “Due to the huge fire in the area, the leopards have lost their habitat to hide. This lack of awareness among the residents can prove fatal and such incidents can only result in more number of man-animal conflicts.”

Experts feel that if the cub is not reunited with the leopard, there is a bleak chance of its survival as it is only 11months old.

Talking to Mirror, wildlife expert Vidya Athreya said, “I think the leopard will return to the same location in search of the cub. These animals ensure that their offspring are safe and never abandon them. What worries me is that the cub is too young to survive on its own. In fact until two years of age, leopard cubs cannot survive independently. I hope the cub is reunited with the mother.”

Meanwhile, officials from the forest department tried locating the cub but in vain.

Anil Anjankar, deputy conservator of forests, Satara division, said, “The leopard left the hilly region due to the forest fire. When we learned about the sighting, we tried to trap the animal but failed. Later we found out that the leopard left with one of its cub. We are suspecting that the other one has also been taken by the animal later.”

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