Kandali Village, India
It all started when physically impaired Ashok Bhade and his family heard their dog barking incessantly on Saturday morning. Ashok and two of his kin stepped out to see what was going on and found the wildcat dragging their dog, Saheb.
The 60-year-old man threw all caution to the wind, despite his impairment and age, and chased after the wildcat. The three men did all they could, even hitting sticks together and bursting crackers to scare away the wild animal. It finally let go after pulling Saheb for about 100metres and disappeared into the surrounding sugar cane plantations.
We could barely think of anything else but saving Saheb’s life, when we saw him in the leopard’s jaw. We literally chased the leopard and rescued our dog. We were ready to face the animal’s attack in the process.ASHOK BHADE
They rushed him to a nearby forest department treatment facility. He suffered stomach, neck, and leg injuries in this attack. This wasn’t the first time Saheb had faced a leopard. In 2018, he bravely rescued two puppies by jumping on the back of a leopard, resulting in a severe leg injury.
Kandali and neighbouring villages have a high number of leopards that stay near the cane fields. Ajay Shinde, a forest officer under whose area the attacks happened, said the start of sugar cuttings during winter pushed the wildcats from the cane fields towards human settlements. This often led to human-wildlife conflicts such as Saheb’s attacks.