21 days 21 memories: #9: Leopard Cubs

My love for animals goes back a long way back. It didn’t have to be a dog or a cat. As long as it was an animal, I was in love with it. A chance to play with or feed an animal was a dream come true moment.

One of those moments was in Assam aeons ago. The setting is of a check post at the edge of a lush forest. The post was dilapidated as if a storm had gone through it. Within the worn out blue interiors of the check post, I found pure love.

The cubs

The story started a few days before I visited this place. Some villagers in the nearby tea estates found a Leopard in the estate. They raised alarm and chased her away. They didn’t know that this was a mother with little cubs. The little ones were starving and had barely opened their eyes when the villagers found them.

Not knowing what to do, the villagers brought the cubs to the guards at the forest check post who took them in and started feeding them. I’m thankful that the villagers did that. In just a few days, the cubs’ health improved and they started showing signs of life.

Love at first sight

When I first saw them, they were prowling about with their feline grace and had a twinkle of mischief in their eyes. It was love at first sight. It didn’t take much time before I started playing with them. They behaved exactly like little kittens – just bigger sized kittens. I think they liked me too. It took them less than 3 minutes before they started cuddling with my legs and trying to climb up my jeans. The forest guards told me that I should try feeding them and gave me raw meat to do so. So I took raw meat in my hands and offered it to them. I really don’t have words to describe what I felt when they ate out of my hands. It was just sheer bliss.

When I was leaving (had to be dragged out of there), the guards said that the cubs haven’t been this friendly with anyone so far.

I asked what will happen to these guys and if they will be released into the wild? The guards said that the cubs won’t make it on their own in the forest, without the mother teaching them survival skills. It broke my heart to know that the cubs will most likely end up in the zoo. I just had to move on and hope for the best for them.

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