In a very tragic incident, five leopard cubs were charred to death in Pune after they were caught in some trash which the farmers decided to burn. They were 10 days old.
The incident happened in Ambegaon taluka of Pune district in the early hours of April 3. The district is located on the edge of a forest and has seen multiple instances of leopards wandering near human dwellings.
Unfortunately, by the time the residents realised that the cubs were in the garbage, it was too late and they lost their lives. According to Hindustan Times, the farmers burnt the trash thinking that a snake was in it. They usually burn the garbage before harvest.
"The incident happened around 5 am on Wednesday in Junnar belt of the district. The labourers, who were cutting the harvest, came across a snake and planned to burn the waste material on the farm to kill it. A female leopard, who was looking after the cubs, managed to save her life. However, the cubs died along with the snake," Vivek Khandekar, the chief conservator of forests was quoted as saying by Mid-day.
He added, "There are chances that the female leopard will now get aggressive following the death of her five cubs, including three female and two male cubs, born around 10 to 15 days back. We have kept cages near the field to trap the big cat to avoid further chaos."
The forest officials think that the cubs' mother must have left them in the field and gone to find food. It would have been then that they found themselves trapped in the garbage and subsequently burnt to death.
Many farmers are afraid to work in the fields now since the mother might become very aggressive when she does not find her cubs.
Forest rangers said that sightings of leopards are not rare in the region and that many leopards have given birth to cubs in the sugarcane fields and left when the cubs were grown.