Shocking videos of an ailing wild leopard being surrounded by a group of villagers, who are taking selfies with him and even trying to ride on him have emerged from Dewas district of Madhya Pradesh.
The incident occurred at Iklera village in Dewas on Tuesday, following which the forest department rescued the leopard. The animal, suspected to be suffering from some brain disorder, was admitted to a zoo in Indore city on Wednesday in a critical condition, and is battling for life, an official said. The official expressed surprise over the male leopard neither attacking the group of people surrounding him nor roaring at them.
“The leopard was rescued on Tuesday from Iklera village, about 80 km from Indore,” said Vikas Mahore, superintendent of the forest department’s Kheoni sanctuary in Dewas.
He said that villagers will be warned not to go near any sick wild animal in future for their own safety.
In the videos that have surfaced on social media, a group of men, some of them holding sticks, are seen either sitting or standing near the leopard. Some of them try to click pictures with the spotted feline, while some others touch the animal who is not resisting their attempts. One video shows a man trying to ride on the animal when the latter is walking.
Talking to PTI, Dr Uttam Yadav, in-charge of Indore’s Kamla Nehru Zoo, said the forest department rescued the male leopard, aged around 10 years, from a rural area in neighbouring Dewas district and admitted him to the hospital in the zoo.
“The seriously-ill leopard’s body is stiffening and the animal is getting seizure attacks around every 20 minutes. Prima facie, the animal is suffering from some brain disorder,” he said.
As per the advice of veterinarians, the treatment of the leopard has been initiated and the animal has been kept under 24-hour surveillance, Yadav said.
“This is for the first time we saw that despite being harassed by the villagers, the leopard neither roared at them nor resisted their attempts. This is very shocking because no matter how sick and weak big cats are, they never give up their in-built nature of resistance when they are in trouble,” he added.
On the leopard being handled in an insensitive manner by the local resident in Dewas, he said, “This behaviour and audacity of the villagers is worrisome. Had the leopard attacked them, their lives could have been in danger.”