India: Trapped leopard rescued after climbing ladder out of well
A video of a leopard climbing a ladder out of a well in the eastern Indian state of Odisha has been shared widely online. After the leopard got trapped in the well, local officials dropped a ladder to the animal. The leopard was able to climb to safety and was released back into its habitat. A vulnerable species, the leopard is protected in India.
A leopard was rescued on June 8 after getting trapped in a well near the town of Redhakhol, in the Sambalpur district of eastern India. Officials from the region’s Forest and Environmental Department notified fire services who initiated the rescue, according to the Indian Express.
ABP News reported that the leopard fell into the well the previous night. Locals discovered it after hearing growls coming from the well.
A video shared online shows the leopard clutching onto a floating log at the bottom of the well. The big cat then carefully climbs up a ladder and runs back into the forest.
One leopard has been safely rescued from a deep well At-Mushakata, PS-Rairakhole, Dist.-Sambalpur by Rairakhole Fire Service personnel in a joint operation with other agencies #OdishaFireService @CMO_Odisha @homeodisha @DGFS_HGs_CD pic.twitter.com/O4mnJJHUu5— OdishaFireServicesHGsCD (@OdishaFS_HGs_CD) June 8, 2022
Another video shared by the Odisha state fire services shows officials carefully lowering the ladder into the well. They installed a net on one side of the well so that the escaped leopard would head back into the forest and not toward villagers.
One leopard has been safely rescued from a deep well at Mushakata, PS-Rairakhole, Dist.-Sambalpur by Rairakhole FS personnel in a joint operation with other agencies #OdishaFireService @MoSarkar5T @SRC_Odisha pic.twitter.com/XFiZ0vqPlb— OdishaFireServicesHGsCD (@OdishaFS_HGs_CD) June 8, 2022
Fire officials said neither the leopard nor any locals were injured in the rescue.
There are an estimated 800 leopards in the state of Odisha. Authorities have been concerned about an uptick in wildlife crimes including poaching for leopard skins during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A highly adaptive species, leopards have also been forced to venture closer to human settlements in order to find prey and shelter, leading to attacks on livestock or domestic dogs. A video published on June 6 showed a leopard attacking a dog in western India, renewing the debate on human-leopard interactions.
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The leopard is listed on the IUCN Red List as a vulnerable species enjoying protection under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972. However, in recent years, India’s leopard population has been increasing.
A report released in 2020 revealed that the leopard population grew around 60% to nearly 13,000 between 2014 and 2018. This comes after significant losses in the leopard population over several decades, as habitat loss and human encroachment threatened the species.