Mumbai, July 9: In a shocking incident, an adult male leopard broke into the canteen of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, located in Takali Dhokeshwar village in Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra.
The big cat was successfully rescued in a 4-hour-long daring operation by Wildlife SOS & the Maharashtra Forest Department and is currently under medical care and observation at the Leopard Rescue Centre in Junnar.
An adult leopard entered a school through the kitchen window in Takali Dhokeshwar village in Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra. While all schools across the state remain shut due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the on-ground maintenance staff at Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya were busy with a cleanup of the premises on Wednesday. Shocked to discover the big cat sitting in the school canteen, the panic stricken staff immediately shut the canteen doors and windows from outside.
The incident was immediately reported to the Forest Department and Junnar-based conservation charity- Wildlife SOS. Equipping themselves with safety nets, a trap cage and protective gear to carry out the rescue mission, a five-member team from Wildlife SOS rushed to assist a team of forest officers in the rescue operation.
On arriving at the school, the team first ensured that all entry and exit points were secured following which they carefully set the rescue plan in motion. In the meantime, the panic-stricken leopard kept scrambling from one corner of the room to the other in an effort to escape.
The rescuer team cut a hole in the entry door of the canteen so they could insert a camera and torch-light to get a clear visual on the exact location of the leopard. Once they confirmed its position, Wildlife SOS veterinary doctor Dr. Nikhil Bangar immobilized the leopard using a sedative injection through the hole.
The leopard was safely shifted to a trap cage and transferred to the Wildlife SOS Leopard Rescue Centre in Junnar for medical care and observation. The leopard, estimated to be a 7 to 8 yearly male had wounds all over his body which were at risk of becoming septic in the rains.
Dr. Nikhil Bangar, Wildlife Veterinary Officer, Wildlife SOS, said, "The leopard has scratch marks and wounds on the head, ear, neck, chest and tail regions. The injuries indicate that he must have gotten into a territorial fight with another male and had rushed to find shelter inside the school. We are currently administering topical treatment and dressing the wounds along with providing antibiotics and anti-anti-inflammatory medication to alleviate the pain."
Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder & CEO Wildlife SOS, said, "Big cats, especially the males often compete with each other for prey and territory. Shrinking habitats and loss of natural prey base has led to more frequent struggles between animals over space and territory. Our team is keeping the leopard under close observation while he recuperates from this stressful experience. We are grateful to the forest Department for making this rescue a success."
Pratap Jagpat, RFO Takali Dhokeshwar, said, "Ahmednagar is a leopard prone area and these big cats often wander into human settlements in search of food and shelter. We are grateful to Wildlife SOS for their assistance in this rescue operation. "