Shimla’s captured leopard fights for life

Shimla, Feb 26 (IANS) A one-and-a-half year-old leopard is struggling for life after it was captured by the wildlife department when it strayed into the heart of this hill town, an official said Friday.

The condition of the leopard, spotted strolling in areas adjoining the Mall Thursday, is critical due to stress and injuries.

‘The female leopard is struggling for life. She has developed septicemia and fever due to grievous injuries on one of its front limbs. Also, the animal does not have the left paw. It might be amputated as it has developed infection. But our priority right now is to give her comfort and bring her out of stress,’ wildlife veterinary surgeon Sandeep Rattan told IANS.

‘It was put on a glucose drip as it seemed that after losing its paw she was not in a position to hunt. It was feeble, emaciated and weighed only 15 kg as it had not eaten anything for the last 10 to 15 days,’ he said.

The leopard has developed capture myopathy (a disease that leads to build up of lactic acid in the bloodstream that drops the pH in the body, affecting heart output and other organs in hoofed animals).

According to veterinarians, there are several situations that can cause capture myopathy. These include trapping, capture, transport and even simple restraint.

The leopard was captured after more than three hours of search Thursday. Himachal Pradesh wildlife officials managed to tranquilise the wild cat with the help of a cartridge-propelled rifle.

The three-foot-long female wild cat, named ‘Shimla Queen’ by the caretakers, was taken to a rescue centre on the outskirts of the city.

Rattan said the leopard strayed into the city as it was unable to hunt due to physical disability.

‘If the animal survives, it will not be released in the jungle because of its permanent injuries,’ he added.

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