Ailing leopard cub dies as forest official turns rescue into photo op

A RANGE Forest Officer (RFO) allegedly turned an ailing leopard cub into a 'plaything', inviting friends, family and relatives to have a look at the animal and also pose for photographs wasting many precious hours before treatment could be administered to the cub. The cub eventually died 15 minutes after the treatment finally started at the veterinary hospital here.

Principal Secretary (Forest) Pravin Pardeshi has said, "I have sought a report on the incident and if what has been reported is correct, action will be taken against the officer."

Sources said, "The information about the cub being found near Lohara inn Umred tahsil was received at 8.30 am. The forest guard and round officer brought the ailing three-month old cub at Umred. A lot of time was lost till the treatment could be tried at Umred at 3 pm. Doctors advised taking the cub to Nagpur. The RFO, G V Sanap, instead of taking it to veterinary hospital right away, took it to Ganeshpeth police station in Nagpur to show it to his friends. Then he took it to Seminary Hills clinic of Forest Department where Sanap again called his daughters and her friends. A photo session was done by all when the cub was sinking."

P K Mahajan, deputy conservator of forests, Nagpur Division, said, "The cub was found at 11 pm. When RFO G V Sanap came to know, he left Nagpur for Umred. Doctors at Umred tried to treat the cub but eventually asked that it be taken to Nagpur. Sanap brought him to Nagpur around 4.30 pm. The cub, however, died during treatment around 6.15 pm. He was suffering from high fever, dehydration and infection."

Asked if Sanap had taken the cub to the police station, Mahajan said, "Yes, but he says he had been asked by a friend in the police department to see him."

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