A common leopard rescued from Jaljala rural municipality in Parbat district and brought to NTNC's Biodiversity Conservation Center (NTNC-BCC) at Sauraha Chitwan on June 26 has been successfully released. The leopard was released in the forests nearby Chitwan National Park on the morning of August 02 after close rehabilitation and care.
Before being brought to the NTNC-BCC facility, a video of the rescue event carried out by the Divisional Forest Office of Parbat together with the Nepal Police had gone somewhat viral on social media. In the video, the leopard is seen walking openly in public, held on a leash by a policemen surrounded by mass hysteria. The episode, besides inviting wide criticism for the lack of sensitivity and treatment of the leopard, had also caused considerable dismay over its unusually docile and domesticated manner portrayed.
"The leopard's health was quite poor when we took over it from the authorities in Parbat," says Dr. Babu Ram Lammichhane from NTNC-BCC. "It had lost its natural aggression because it had succumbed to weakness and was even suffering from poor vision. That's the reason why it was seen behaving submissive and abnormal in the video."
Upon observing the cat's fragile and disoriented condition, NTNC-BCC's rescue team initially suspected the cause of the symptoms to be pathological. The leopard was kept in a separate holding cage for treatment from where it was tended to and monitored by a dedicated team. Oral medication was administered placing pills inside meat pieces. After a full course of medication and daily diet of a whole chicken for forty days, once the leopard began gaining its natural aggression and responding to visual stimuli, the NTNC-BCC team decided its release back in the wild.
The fully rehabilitated male leopard, estimated to be between 3-5 years, has been released in the eastern sector of Chitwan National Park at the edge of Rapti River inside the Kumroj Community Forest which supports high prey density. Together with this incident, since March 24, the day when the nation-wide lockdown in Nepal began, NTNC-BCC has rescued and taken care of six leopards in total.