HSI project partner Wildlife S.O.S. had to go out on a limb (literally!) to rescue a leopard who had fallen into a 60 foot deep dry well. The team lived up to the risky challenge!
The adult female leopard, weighing about 35 kilos, had fallen into the well in the middle of a village called Nimgaon, about 70 kilometres from the Junnar Leopard Rescue Centre near Mumbai. The local Forest department and other organisations made efforts to rescue the leopard for about six days but were unable to reach her.
Wildlife S.O.S were informed by an animal lover in Mumbai after seeing a TV report of the leopard trapped in a deep well who would likely die if not rescued immediately. The WSOS team, led by veterinarian Dr. Ajay Deshmukh along with team member Mahendra Dhore, rose to the challenge.
The task ahead was risky and very dangerous as the well in which the leopard was trapped was over sixty feet deep and also very narrow. The width was barely four feet which made it impossible to lower any life saving type device into the well. The team had to ensure their safety while also having to operate tranquilising equipment to dart the animal. Everybody was at their wits end on how to save the precious animal. Eventually a very narrow platform attached to a hand made crane (Read: very dangerous!) was lowered into the well.
The WSOS team took all possible and available precautions by using safety ropes, carabiners, and waist harnesses to ensure they could go down safely. The team was lowered to a depth of fifty feet where the oxygen levels were low and it was getting difficult to breathe. The vet managed to dart the leopard with the blowpipe on the fourth attempt and in twenty minutes the leopard was anesthetised and ready to be lifted out.
The WSOS team then went once again to the bottom of the well to lift the leopard out. She is a beautiful female, about three years old.
Dr. Ajay Deshmukh of Wildlife S.O.S said the rescue was tough, but worth all of the effort.
"There were no serious external injuries on the leopard. Her heart beat, temperature and respiration rate became normal soon after the rescue operation. We have micro chipped her and she is under our care and observation presently till the time of her release."
HSI is proud to support the conservation work of Wildlife SOS, and helps to support the leopard rescue centre.
To find out more about HSI Project Partners, and our international project work please click here
Photo (c) Akshaya Mane @ Project Waghoba
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