Aug 3, 2010

Spotted Intruder

Imagine this scene. You live in a built up area and are tinkering around your garden, perhaps humming a happy tune. In your garden is an engine with a cover over it and as you pass it hear a rather nasty growl.
What do you do? How do you feel? What runs through your mind?
Would you even consider the possibility that it might be a leopard? Well this is exactly what happened when a rather surprised person living in a town called Phalaborwa discovered a hissing, spitting leopard huddled next to an old engine in his garden. As the vet was close by he was summoned to assist with the situation. Rushing over to investigate more closely the vet soon recognised that this was a leopard cub which was in a terrible state. Being unable to fend for itself and obviously lacking a mother, this little cub was forced to seek easy food which could be found in residential areas. However anything he found would not be enough for him to survive on as at his age he still required the nutrients and goodness that could only be acquired from his mother’s milk.
As one could not approach this fearful little fur ball directly without causing large amounts of stress to the animal or being injured oneself, the leopard cub had to be darted before the vet could extract it from its secure hiding place. In the mean time Brian had been contacted by the Environmental Affairs. They had asked him if he would be able to fetch the leopard cub and care for it until it can be released. Being a cub this would still be a good few months and it probably had not learnt many of the skills needed for an adult animal to fend for itself in the wild. On route to a different destination Brian made an immediate detour and summoned the volunteers and staff to come and assist.

On arrival the sight was shocking! The poor thing was emaciated and seemed to be teetering on the edge of its life. Perhaps from some form of struggle 2 of its front teeth were broken off and its toe pads were raw.
Immediately it was hooked up to a drip so that it could be given fluids and was rushed back to the rehab. Settled into a warm cubicle we could only wait for the sedative to wear off.  Sadly we suspect that this infant’s mother had been caught in a snare or trap leaving it all alone

Finally, later that evening, Brian decided that we should see if it was ready to accept food. Wary at first but driven by hunger he edged closer and closer to the food that was being offered. After that initial taste he gulped down piece after piece hissing and spitting between swallowing.

As the days have gone by he has hung in there and is clawing his way closer to survival. Eating daily and growing more vocal he will soon be ready to be put outside into the enclosure that is being constructed especially for him. When he stood up yesterday for the first time in three days we knew he was on his way to recovery.

Enclosures such as these are costly to erect and often we have to rely on the money that we receive as donations designated by the giver to a specific task. If you would like to assist us in this please contact the office on the following email address:

1 comment:

Extra Virgin said...

If the spotted little intruder's mom was caught in a snare, then it makes me incredibly sad. Would like to know how the little one is doing these days?