Heinous act! Wildlife rescuers save terrified leopard from 'jaws of death' poachers’ trap

DISTRESSING CONTENT WARNING: A magnificent leopard has escaped “the jaws of death” after being clasped by a gruesome bear trap.

The terrified big cat was left frantically trying to break free from the cruel steel contraption set by poachers. Hundreds of curious villagers turned out as the three year old leopard ran amok in cereal fields in panic. Rescue experts from Wildlife SOS finally managed to knock out the leopard using a tranquiliser gun and remove the trap before it could badly mutilate the animal’s leg.

Wildlife SOS is condemning the use of barbaric poaching traps as it released gripping video scenes of the leopard rescue.

It warns: “Not all animals have the opportunity to escape from these indiscriminate killing devices that have the power to kill anything from a rabbit or porcupine to a bear, leopard and even tigers.

“Every year hundreds of wild animals succumb to jaw traps, snares, and explosive baits in India and the deaths of a majority of these victims of go undocumented.”

A four man team from Wildlife SOS’s Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre, based 50 miles east of Mumbai in India, were dispatched with nets, restraining equipment and a cage after forestry department officials reported the helpless leopard in a nearby village with the trap gripping its front left leg.

Terrified leopard after being freed from trap

Terrified leopard was caught in poachers' trap (Image: Wildlife SOS)

The deadly trap removed from leopard

Jaws of Death. The deadly trap that caught leopard (Image: Wildlife SOS)

With hundreds of sightseers gathering to catch sight of the male leopard, the rescue team had to cordon off the area for public safety before its vet Dr Ajay Deshmukh could fire a sedative dart.

Wildlife SOS co-founder and chief executive Kartick Satyanarayan described the scenes.

He said: “The leopard was in a state of distress and was confused and frightened by all the noise and screaming.

“We are appalled by this heinous act of crime against an innocent animal.

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Leopard lies in grass after darting

Leopard in long grass after being darted (Image: Wildlife SOS)

"Jaw traps are lethal hunting devices which can cause severe lacerations, joint dislocations, fractures and even death in most cases.”

It took several hours to complete the rescue operation but, after being sedated, the leopard was given a thorough examination and treatment, having fortunately escaped breaking its leg.

While the leopard remains in medical care, Dr Deshmukh explained the urgency of the rescue.

He said: “We had to first tranquilise the leopard to carefully remove the jaw trap. Any further delay would have caused severe damage to the forelimb.

Vet checks leopard after rescue

Leopard gets medical checks after rescue (Image: Wildlife SOS)

“We disinfected the wound and have administered topical treatment along with analgesics and anti-inflammatory medication.

"Fortunately, the injury is superficial, and no internal injuries has been detected.”

Forestry officials based at Ahmednagar have launched an investigation into the poaching incident.

A spokesman said: "There is an urgent need to educate the public about the illegality of such offences in order to curb poaching.”