Wildlife rescuers and forest officials in Gujarat successfully reunited a leopard cub with its mother late on Thursday night, four days after the cub was discovered separated from its mother in the Jaffarpura village of Waghodia taluka.
According to the volunteers who saved the 20-day-old cub, it is thought that the separation occurred when the cat family was being relocated from their habitat because of ongoing road construction.
Since the leopard cub was first discovered by the villagers on Monday, Hemant Vadhwana, a wildlife volunteer, and Chandrika Choudhary, a Waghodia Range Forest Officer, have made three unsuccessful attempts to reunite the cub with its mother. They have kept the cub in a secure basket at the location where it was discovered and have used camera traps there to monitor the mother’s movements. The leopardess showed up at the location on each of the three nights — Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday — but she made no attempt to approach the cub. On Thursday night, when the leopardess finally took her cub away, the rescuers attained their goal.
“Since leopards are nocturnal in nature, we were expecting the mother to arrive at night… Also, the leopardess would return to the spot where her cub has been lost for at least six or seven nights until she is convinced that it has been lost or killed. The longer the gap in the reunion, the more difficult it becomes. Therefore, as soon as the villagers called me on Monday, I immediately coordinated with the forest officials to ensure that we sit out to have the cub reunite with the mother,” Vadhwana told to the sources.
The team was confident that the mother leopard would return to the area because the forest department had installed night vision cameras, according to Vadhwana.
“We first kept the cub in a safe box. For the first two nights, she returned but stayed away… She was scared that she would be caught or attacked. Although she kept watching her cub, she did not come near. It is also possible that she would have sniffed some human scent from the cub as it had been handled by the villagers before we arrived and leopards have a sharp sense of smell… We decided not to give up even though she was aborting her attempt to come close,” Vadhwana said.
The wildlife volunteer added that on Wednesday, the animal came close to the safe box but returned without taking the cub along. “We decided to lay the cub without the safe box on Thursday. Much to our delight and relief, she returned and swiftly took away the cub, catching it by the collar,” Vadhwana said.