Leopard Is Saved From Drowning Inside 60-Foot Well

It didn't take long for villagers in southern India to realize there was a problem with the water supply. It was highly unusual for the local well to make nightmarish howling and screeching sounds.

When someone peered over the edge, the problem was quickly identified.

Yup. Leopard at the bottom of the well.

How exactly that leopard managed to become trapped at the bottom of a 60-foot hole wasn't immediately clear. But what was obvious? The animal would soon drown.

Someone tossed a bundle of branches down the well into the water to act as a life preserver - and the 3-year-old female leopard readily clambered aboard.

Wildlife SOS India

Soon, a team arrived at this small village in Maharashtra, India, from Wildlife SOS, a rescue organization with a history of saving animals from bad situations.

The group, led by veterinarian Ajay Deshmukh and joined by officials from the state forestry department, realized hauling an understandably skittish wild animal from a very deep hole would prove no easy task.

"Due to lack of proper net covers," a forestry department official said in a press release, "a large number of wells in rural Maharashtra villages remain exposed, thereby increasing the risk of wild animals getting trapped in them."

The team opted to lower a crate down to the struggling leopard.

But at first, the dangling box didn't exactly scream, 'Here to help!' to the animal. Instead, it seemed to make the leopard angry enough to take a few swipes at it - swipes that sent her perilously off balance.

Wildlife SOS India

But with persistence from her rescuers, the leopard got a little more curious about the box. Or, at least, she realized her options were slim to none. With slim having just left town.

Wildlife SOS India

The leopard finally seemed to accept the lifeline, first chewing a little on the edge before clambering inside.

Wildlife SOS India

Throughout the three-hour rescue operation, the leopard remained defiantly angry at everyone and everything. But, without the swift response of rescuers, her days would have ended in that well.

"Leopards are often spotted in this area," Kartick Satyanarayan, cofounder of Wildlife SOS, said in a press release. "There are several sugarcane fields that provide a safe cover to these animals, who are struggling to find a foothold in the vanishing forests due to unwarranted invasion of their natural habitat."

After a thorough medical checkup at the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre, run by Wildlife SOS, she was released back into the wild. And villagers were able to use the well again, without having to worry about angering a leopard.

Wildlife SOS India saves the lives of countless animals, like this leopard, each year. If you would like to support its mission, consider making a donation here.