Watch Incredible Moment a Drowning Leopard That Fell Down 50ft Well Gets Rescued

The incredible moment a drowning leopard, who was paddling helplessly to stay afloat while stuck in a 50-foot-deep well, has been captured on film.

The video shows the terrified leopard hunched up and balanced on a flimsy metal crate within the well. The leopard was found by a local farmer in Akuti village, in India's Maharashtra state. Scared the animal would not survive much longer, the farmer called the Maharashtra Forest Department and animal rescue organization Wildlife SOS to help.

Wildlife officials drove to the village immediately. Once they arrived, rescuers lowered a trap cage into the well. The leopard, seemingly sensing help, then clambered inside the crate to safety.

It is not uncommon for leopards to fall into wells in India. A spokesperson for Wildlife SOS told Newsweek that uncovered wells are a danger to leopards who wander into villages in search of food. The nocturnal cats will often do this at nighttime, meaning they do not notice the deep, uncovered wells and subsequently fall inside.

"Such cases have been increasing in recent years and the main reason behind this appears to be the lack of proper covers and fencing around these wells," the spokesperson said.

The expansion of farmlands in the state has also threatened jungle habitats and water sources, causing more leopards to fall into wells when searching for water.

The leopard clung to a metal crate inside the well for temporary support. Wildlife SOS

Once rescued, the leopard was taken into a nearby forest nursery, where it was examined by veterinarians for any injuries before being released back into the wild.

Mahendra Dhore, a veterinary assistant at Wildlife SOS, said in a press release the male leopard was around 7-years-old.

Leopards are skilled swimmers but when trapped in bodies of water for extended hours it becomes difficult to stay afloat due to exhaustion, the Wildlife SOS spokesperson told Newsweek. In some cases, they also sustain injuries from the fall which makes it even more challenging for them to stay afloat.

Wildlife SOS has saved over 30 leopards from open wells. It is investigating ways to ensure all wells are covered to prevent wildlife falling in, as well as implementing 'wildlife ways' within them so that animals can escape on their own.

There are around 12,000 to 14,000 Indian leopards left in the wild. The population has increased in recent years because of efforts to crack down on poaching, but it is still an endangered species.

Pratap Jagtap, a range forest officer working with Wildlife SOS, said in a statement: "Leopards adapt to surviving around human-dominated landscapes, bringing them into close contact with humans leading to such situations. We are glad the animal was unhurt and was able to return to its natural habitat."

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