Victim of attack, clouded leopard returned to wild after surgery, recovery

The female sub-adult clouded leopard was found by villagers, who handed her over to the Forest Department at Merapani Range.Amidst beaming faces and clicking cameras, a sub-adult female clouded leopard that was rescued by villagers in Assam sprinted back to the forest after recovering from a surgery performed by IFAW- WTI veterinarians at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) in Kaziranga.

The female sub-adult clouded leopard was admitted to CWRC from the Golaghat Forest Division of Assam in a severely injured state. She was found by villagers, who handed her over to the Forest Department at Merapani Range in the Golaghat district of Assam.

Under severe stress and in extreme pain caused by a puncture wound and a hernia on the right side of her abdomen, and an injured tongue, this elusive animal was taken in for treatment and surgery. 

The IFAW-WTI veterinarians Dr Panjit Basumatary and Dr Tarique Anowar conducted the surgery after which the animal was kept in a special room for post-operative care and treatment.

A puncture wound on her right abdominal region indicated that she was a victim of some attack,” said Dr. Basumatary, who operated on the animal. “The tongue injury with clotted blood in the oral cavity and puncture wound on her right abdominal region indicated that she was a victim of some attack,” said Dr. Basumatary, who operated on the animal.

As the wound healed and the animal regained her wild instincts, it was decided to release this smallest of the big cats close to its place of rescue. The release site is connected to the forest landscape of Nagaland bordering the Yangri river of Merapani forest reserve in Assam-Nagaland border.

The animal was micro-chipped at CWRC during her health examination prior to release.

Appreciating the sincere efforts of the IFAW- WTI team at CWRC, Dr. C. Muthu Kumarvel,  IFS, DFO, Golaghat, said, “Happy to note that the clouded leopard is released back successfully along Assam-Nagaland border in Merapani area after its rescue and treatment.”

Dr. Panjit Basumatary, the senior veterinarian at CWRC, who has been taking care of the clouded leopard was happy that they could send her back where she was rescued from the wild. “I hope she will survive in nature without such incidents in future and she will be monitored by Assam and Nagaland forest staff jointly,” he said.

IFAW- WTI has handled seven cases of clouded leopards in Assam, five of them originating from the Western Assam area near Manas NP. Two pairs of clouded leopards were successfully rehabilitated and released while a male is currently awaiting release. In 2010, a sub-adult cub was reported to be displaced in Silonijan and the IFAW-WTI team at CWRC provided necessary in situ intervention and released it within a day.

The release site is connected to the forest landscape of Nagaland bordering the Yangri river.This is the first case of a release following surgical intervention of this elusive big cat, giving the IFAW-WTI veterinarians more reasons to smile.

--RG

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