A teenager risked his own life and rescued his young cousin from the jaws of a deadly leopard in Karpatwadi village near Tokawade in Murbad taluka of Thane district.
On Friday afternoon, Naresh Kaluram Bhala (14) and Harshad Vitthal Bhala (7) were with their grandmother on their farm which is situated the Murbad forest range. While the woman was busy farming, the two boys went somewhere in the forest in search of blackberries.
The giant cat which was hiding in the bushes sprung on the older boy, but as he immediately moved away, it assaulted Harshad and injured him.
With quick presence of mind, Naresh picked up a few stones and a stick at the spot and started hitting the leopard with full force, forcing it to let go of its grip on Harshad.
As both of the children raised an alarm, their grandmother Kanhibai came rushing with a ‘koyta’ (sickle), the leopard escaped the spot.
Kanhibai then rushed both children to hospital, where they were treated for their injuries.
Interestingly, after a day, the forest team discovered the same leopard ‘dead’ around 300 metres away.
The corpse of the female cat which is around 10-12 years old, was then taken to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park for post mortem. After the examination, it was learnt that the animal was found to have no external wounds or abnormalities.
Pathologists from the Parel veterinary college- Dr Prashant Gadve and Dr Shailesh Pethe reported the cause of the leopard’s death was due to old age.
On Saturday, the officials who belonged to local Tokawade police station lavished praises on the children. Suhas Kharmate who is in-charge of Tokawade police station, said, “Naresh showed unusual courage for such a young lad to save his cousin.”
(This article was originally published in The Times of India)