Leopard rescue in India

Recently an adult male leopard had fallen into a reservoir in eastern India. He was rescued by forest rangers last Wednesday with just the help of a humble net. The incident took place at the Hansqua Tea Estate near Siliguri in the eastern state of West Bengal. Workers learned about the trapped leopard in the tea garden premises as they reported for work. The estate manager immediately alerted the nearby Forest Ranger and Game Warden for help in rescuing the leopard.

Workers gathered around the reservoir and watched as the big cat, who was submerged neck-deep in water, tried to climb out of the reservoir tank. A loud cheer broke out when the leopard successfully grabbed onto the net and leaped out of the reservoir to safety. Incidents of wild animals straying into human settlements in India are on the rise due to the depleting forest and shortage of prey in the wild so it is most likely that these kinds of incidents will take place.

The Indian Leopard ~

The Indian leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) is a leopard subspecies widely distributed on the Indian subcontinent and classified as Near Threatened by IUCN since 2008. The species Panthera pardus may soon qualify for the Vulnerable status due to habitat loss and fragmentation, heavy poaching for the illegal trade of skins and body parts in Asia, and persecution due to conflict situations. They are becoming increasingly rare outside protected areas. The trend of the population is decreasing.

The Indian leopard is one of the five big cats found in India, apart from Asiatic lion, Bengal tiger, snow leopard and clouded leopard.


In 1794, Friedrich Albrecht Anton Meyer wrote the first description of Felis fusca, in which he gave account of a panther-like cat from Bengal of about 85.5 cm (33.7 in), with strong legs and a long well-formed tail, head as big as a panther’s, broad muzzle, short ears and small, yellowish grey eyes, light grey ocular bulbs; black at first sight, but on closer examination dark brown with circular darker coloured spots, tinged pale red underneath.

Distribution and habitat

On the Indian subcontinent, topographical barriers to the dispersal of this subspecies are the Indus River in the west, and the Himalayas in the north. In the east, the lower course of the Brahmaputra and the Ganges Delta form natural barriers to the distribution of the Indo-Chinese leopard. Indian leopards are distributed all over India, in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and parts of Pakistan. They inhabit tropical rain forests, dry deciduous forests, temperate forests and northern coniferous forests up to an altitude of 2,500 meters (8,200 ft) above sea level, bordering snow leopard habitat. But they do not inhabit the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans.

Ecology and behavior

In Nepal's Bardia National Park, home ranges of male leopards comprised about 48 km2 (19 sq mi), and of females about 17 km2 (6.6 sq mi); female home ranges decreased to 5 to 7 km2 (1.9 to 2.7 sq mi) when they had young cubs.


Hunting for the illegal wildlife trade has the greatest potential to do maximum harm in minimal time. Apart from poaching, Indian leopards are threatened by loss of habitat and fragmentation of formerly connected populations, various levels of human–leopard conflict in human–dominated landscapes, and competition with other predators.


A significant immediate threat to wild leopard populations is the illegal trade in poached skins and body parts between India, Nepal and China. The governments of these countries have failed to implement adequate enforcement response, and wildlife crime remained a low priority in terms of political commitment and investment for years. There are well-organized gangs of professional poachers, who move from place to place and set up camp in vulnerable areas. Skins are rough-cured in the field and handed over to dealers, who send them for further treatment to Indian tanning centres. Buyers choose the skins from dealers or tanneries and smuggle them through a complex interlinking network to markets outside India, mainly in China. Seized skins in Kathmandu confirm the city's role as a key staging point for illegal skins smuggled from India bound for Tibet and China.

It is likely that seizures represent a tiny fraction of the total illegal trade, with the majority of smuggled skins reaching their intended end market.

Seizures revealed:

in India: more than 2845 poached leopards between 1994 and October 2010.
in Nepal: 243 poached leopards between May 2002 and May 2008.
in China and Tibet: more than 774 poached leopards between July 1999 and September 2005.

In May 2010, the Wildlife Protection Society of India estimated that in India at least 3,189 leopards were killed since 1994. For every tiger skin, there are at least seven leopard skins in the haul.

Human–leopard conflict

Expansion of agriculturally used land, encroachment of humans and their livestock into protected areas are main factors contributing to habitat loss and decrease of wild prey. As a result, leopards approach human settlements, where they are tempted to prey on dogs, pigs and goats — domestic livestock, which constitutes an important part of their diet, if they live on the periphery of human habitations. Human–leopard conflict situations ensue, and have increased in recent years. In retaliation for attacks on livestock, leopards are shot, poisoned and trapped in brutal snares. The question remains: who is trespassing on whom?

India's Forest Department is entitled to set up traps only in cases of a leopard having attacked humans. If only the presence of a crowd of people prevents the leopard from escaping, then the crowd has to be dispersed and the animal allowed to escape.

Competition with other predators

Leopards share their habitats with Asiatic lions, Bengal tigers, Asiatic Black Bears and sloth bears, wolves, Striped hyenas and wild dogs. These animals may kill leopard cubs given a chance. Lions and tigers may even attack a full-grown leopard.

Leopards succeed in co-existing with tigers, but are not common in habitat where tiger density is high. They are sandwiched between prime tiger habitat, on the one side, and cultivated village land on the other


Despite India and Nepal being contracting parties to CITES, national legislation of both countries does not incorporate and address the spirit and concerns of CITES. Trained human resources, basic facilities and effective networks for control of poaching and trade in wildlife are lacking.[13]

Frederick Walter Champion was one of the first in India who after World War I advocated for the conservation of leopards, condemned sport hunting and recognized their key role in the ecosystem. Billy Arjan Singh championed their cause since the early 1970s. Source ~ Wikipedia


Responses to "Wild Indian leopard rescued from a reservoir with just a net (VIDEO)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    I could feel his despair! Thanks god he came out of this!

  2. Anonymous says:

    It was so heartwarming to see the crowd of observers cheer when the leopard finallly escaped. I hope that is the last close encounter with humans he has!

  3. Anonymous says:

    How did you get the photo of him in the water?

  4. Anonymous says:

    It was lovely to see how the people flocked to help this beautiful Leopard and cheer as he/she escaped..The net was a great idea....I would like to put my name to this but I can't do the name/urle thing right so exuse my Anonymous signature and thank you so much for bringing this video to me..The human compasion shone through..Teresa Reilly.

  5. Unknown says:

    Well, Glad you saved his butt, and I know he's glad too..

Write a comment