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Sigh of relief for villagers near Pune as intruding leopard rescued after 10-hour-long operation

The leopard which had created a human-animal conflict in Maharashtra's Jaulake Khurd village was rescued by the Forest Department and Wildlife SOS rescue team

Villagers of Maharashtra’s Jaulake Khurd in Pune district have been lately experiencing a rise in human-animal conflict as another leopard was found wandering in their area. The animal was finally rescued on Friday after a strenuous 10-hour-long operation conducted by the Maharashtra Forest Department in tandem with Wildlife SOS, bringing much-needed relief to the residents.

After being alerted about the leopard sighting, the Forest Department officials along with the NGO’s Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre in Junnar swung into action.

Using footage from camera traps and tracking pugmarks, the rescue team confirmed the location of the leopard as it was the first and essential step for its rescue. The initial attempt failed as the frightened creature fled.

Eventually, the leopard was located sitting in tall grasslands and the forest department immediately secured the area using safety nets. Precautionary measures like wearing protective gear and blocking every exit point were taken and then a trap cage with food bait was placed nearby to lure the leopard in.

Waiting for several hours paid off, when the leopard successfully entered the trap cage and was transferred to the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre for medical observation.

Sharing his thoughts about this long operation, Pradip Raundal, Range Forest Officer, Khed  Range said: “The Jaulake Khurd village has previously not experienced as much human-leopard conflict. However, leopards are slowly shifting into this area. The biggest challenge we faced in rescuing this leopard was that it was camouflaged during the day and extremely active at night.”

Describing the tracking of leopard as a formidable task, Dr. Nikhil Bangar, Wildlife SOS Veterinary Officer, said: “The Forest Department and Wildlife SOS team were able to track the leopard in a record-breaking time of about a day.”