Local residents spotted the animal and alerted officials; Forest Dept and Fire & Rescue personnel worked all day and helped the animal clamber on to a raft to lift it out

The animal will be monitored before being released back into the wild, officials said   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Local residents spotted the animal and alerted officials; Forest Dept and Fire & Rescue personnel worked all day and helped the animal clamber on to a raft to lift it out

A 5-year-old leopard was rescued after it fell inside an open well in Kotagiri on Saturday morning.

The leopard is believed to have fallen into the well, located in a residential area, on late Friday night or early Saturday morning. Local residents, who noticed that the animal had fallen inside, intimated the fire and rescue service personnel as well as the Forest Department.

A team of Forest Department staff, led by District Forest Officer (The Nilgiris division), Bhosale Sachin Thukkaram, reached the spot soon afterwards, and began undertaking efforts to rescue the leopard. The disorientated and weakened animal, repeatedly escaped from a raft fashioned by the Department, which was lowered into the well for the animal to climb onto. Forest Department and fire and rescue service staff worked through the day and finally managed to get the animal to clamber onto the raft, which was carefully raised into a waiting cage.

Forest Department officials said that the animal will be monitored before it is released back into the wild.

Shekar Kumar Niraj, Chief Wildlife Warden of Tamil Nadu, said that a “well-equipped, rapid response team will be stationed in each vulnerable district.”

Mr. Niraj also added that instructions have been passed onto the District Forest Officer to run campaigns to sensitize residents to cover their open wells so that animals do not fall inside.

Last year, the district administration had instructed the Forest Department to track down all open wells in the district after a leopard died inside a well dug by the local panchayat in Kattabettu.

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