Manas(Assam): A sick clouded leopard cub was admitted to the Wildlife Transit Home in Assam's Kokrajhar district for further care after the animal was handed over by an unknown person, an official of Wildlife Trust of India(WTI) said today.
The cub, a male aged between three to six months was brought to the Wildlife Transit Home, run by International Fund for Animal Welfare(IFAW) and WTI, on August 13 from the proposed Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) Zoo campus in Kokrajhar town, said WTI Awareness for Conservation Assistant Manager Subhamoy Bhattacharjee.
It was brought by IFAW-WTI and Assam Forest department after it was handed over by the person to the staff of the proposed zoo, where it was kept for more than 10 days. The animal was handed over to the transit home for further care, Bhattacharjee said.
"The animal was very weak, anaemic and pot-bellied at the time of admission. A suitable diet chart has been framed for its health improvement," said Bhaskar Choudhury, Regional Head and Head Veterinarian who examined the cub at the centre.
The zoo staff believe that the cub was picked up from nearby Kachugaon Reserve Forest under Manas Tiger Reserve.
The cub weighs 2.2 kg and is now under observation and care at the Wildlife Transit Home and in accordance with the clouded leopard rehabilitation protocol it will be hand raised at the centre and rehabilitated in the wild, Bhattacharjee said.
It takes almost a year of hand-raising and acclimatization to rehabilitate clouded leopard cubs in the wild, he said.
One of the main threats to clouded leopards, considered an elusive animal, is the loss of habitat as the species that does not fare well in human dominated landscapes unlike the common leopard, he said.
Occasionally, clouded leopard skins are confiscated by the enforcement authorities indicating that there is an active trade in clouded leopard pelts (for decoration and clothing and meat as substitute for tiger in Chinese traditional medicine, the WTI official said.
WTI has since 2009 handled seven cases of rehabilitating clouded leopards in Assam, most of them originating from western Assam area near Manas.