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Mother Leopard Knew Something Very Important Was Inside This Box

“It is also immensely rewarding for us to know that the cub will now have a chance" 💕

It was curiosity that led a leopard cub to wander away from his two siblings while their mom hunted for dinner. But curiosity soon led to crisis — the 13-month-old cub eventually found himself all alone, in the middle of a village in Parner, India, and he couldn’t find his way back to his family.

When a sugarcane farmer spotted the lost cub on his property, he was immediately worried. He knew that the mom would come looking for her lost baby, and she could pose a threat to himself and other villagers in the area. So the farmer got in touch with the local forestry department, and the forestry department got in touch with the Wildlife SOS team operating out of the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Center.

Vet examining leopard cub
A vet examining the rescued leopard cub | Wildlife SOS

“We have noticed that in most cases the mother always comes looking for her missing offspring,” Arinita Sandilya, press and communications officer for Wildlife SOS, told The Dodo. “Mother leopards are fiercely protective of their young, and in cases where they are unable to locate their cubs, it is natural for them to turn defensive or aggressive, and they pose an immediate threat to humans in close proximity.”

Vet holding leopard cub
Wildlife SOS

Thankfully, the Wildlife SOS team got there before anything happened. They caught the little leopard cub, and a vet conducted an on-site medical check, which showed that the baby leopard was in great health. After that, the team placed the cub in a box so they could try and reunite him with his mom.

“The cub was quite shaken as he was in an unfamiliar environment and was yearning for his mother,” Sandilya said. “He did, however, calm down once we placed him inside the box.”

Mother leopard cub pawing at box
The leopard mom pawing at the box with her baby inside | Wildlife SOS

The rescue team took the baby leopard to a spot where villagers had previously spotted the mom — and then they waited. After a few hours, the mom appeared. She initially seemed confused by the box, although she appeared to know that her baby was in there. After circling the box a few times, the mom knocked the box over, which allowed the baby to crawl out and reunite with his mom.

“We could imagine her relief on finding her young one safe and sound!” Sandilya said.

Mother leopard with baby inside
Wildlife SOS

The Wildlife SOS team was delighted to see the baby back with his mom, exactly where he belongs.

“In order to survive in the wild and learn the skills of survival, it is crucial for leopard cubs to be reared by their mothers for the first two years of their lives,” Dr. Ajay Deshmukh, senior veterinarian at the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Center, said in a statement. “It is also immensely rewarding for us to know that the cub will now have a chance at a free life in the wild along with his siblings.”

“Rescues like this hold a very special place in our hearts,” Sandilya said. “Such reunions are also important to help curb conflict [between animals and humans].”

To help rescue more wild animals like leopards and elephants in India, you can make a donation to Wildlife SOS.