Residents of Ghodbunder village on Tuesday morning rescued two leopard cubs who fell into a dry well after two hours of marathon effort. The two cubs, however, ran away and disappeared in the nearby forest minutes after being rescued.
Kunal Bhandari, 21, a resident, said he had gone to the fort area to attend nature's call when he heard roars coming out of a small well. He went to investigate and was shocked to find the two cubs trying to come out. Bhandari said he immediately rushed home and alerted all the villagers. One of them called the fire brigade who informed the forest officials of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).
Meanwhile, hundreds of villagers gathered at the spot and started attempting to rescue the cubs. They threw a wood-and-rope ladder into the well. However, the cubs panicked on seeing so many people.
Finally, just minutes before the forest officials arrived, the cubs climbed out with the help of the ladder and ran away into the forest.
VJ Pawar, superintendent of Lions Safari, and Sanjeev Pinjarkar, veterinary officer at SGNP, inspected the well and nearby area.
They also spoke to the villagers. Pawar said, "This area is surrounded by dense forests, and many times, leopards are seen. However, till date, no attack on humans has been recorded from this area."
Avinash Mhatre, another resident, said, "We were considered fools whenever we spoke about the presence of wild cats in the area. This incident has vindicated us. Though these cubs were small and harmless, we can't rule out chances of their attacks in the near future. We request forest officials to look into the matter seriously and place cages to capture them."