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Villagers in Maharashtra’s Belhe lower charpai in 45-foot-deep well to save drowning leopard

When villagers and the forest department officials lowered a charpai, the exhausted leopard in the well found relief

Quick thinking and prompt action on the part of local residents of Belhe village in Pune and the Maharashtra Forest Department saved the life of a male leopard stuck in a 45-foot-deep well!

Belhe villagers on Saturday were startled when they heard the panicked roars, echoing from within a deep open well. On investigating they were surprised to see a leopard struggling to stay afloat in waist-deep water. They got worried as the animal appeared exhausted from the ordeal.

Fearing for the leopard’s safety, the villagers alerted the Maharashtra Forest Department and the Wildlife SOS.

Without wasting any time, the villagers and forest officials lowered a charpai (a woven cot) into the well to allow the leopard to climb onto it for support.

The Wildlife SOS team which came from the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre reached the site and immediately commenced the rescue operation by lowering a trap cage into the well to get the leopard out.

The animal almost instantaneously jumped into the cage and was lifted out. Moved to the Rescue Centre which is run jointly by the Forest Department and Wildlife SOS, it was kept under medical observation.

With the veterinary team declaring the big cat fit, it was released back into its natural habitat.

Talking about the incident, Vaibhav Kakade, Range Forest Officer of Otur recalled: “The leopard got exhausted while swimming continuously to stay afloat. That is why we lowered the charpai so that the animal could get some rest. We are glad that it was not injured and was able to return to its natural habitat.”

Sharing details about the leopard, Dr Nikhil Bangar, Veterinary Officer, Wildlife SOS said: “The leopard was a male, approximately 1.5 years old. We kept the leopard under close observation while he recuperated from this stressful ordeal. Fortunately, he had not sustained any severe injuries and was safely released back into the wild.”

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