Leopard cub rescued and released in Assam

November 20th, 2008 - 7:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Nov 20, (IANS) A leopard cub was rescued and released Wednesday night in Assam’s eastern Digboi town, officials said here Thursday.The animal was around eight months old and was freed near the Upper Dihing reserve forest.

Officials said the leopard had strayed into a house but was quickly locked from outside by the terrified house owner and his neighbours.

“The leopard could have come from the Upper Dihing reserve forest. However conflict with leopards is not common in Digboi,” said Prabhakar Das, divisional forest officer (DFO).

The rescue operation was carried out by officials from the forest department and the NGOs Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

WTI veterinarian Abhijit Bhawal said: “There was no option but to tranquilise the leopard. We used a makeshift pole syringe, using a bamboo. Although we had a cartridge-propelled rifle, we did not want to use it for fear of causing undue tissue damage.”

“It is not uncommon for grown-up cubs of big cats to venture into human habitation looking for easy prey. In a similar incident in May 2004 when an adult tigress had mauled a mahout riding a captive elephant, her two fully-grown cubs had ventured into a nearby village and killed several livestock. The cubs had to be caught and released in the forest,” said N.V.K. Ashraf, director WTI.

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