In an all-too-familiar scenario in India, a leopard became trapped when it fell into a 40-foot well bordering a sugarcane field in the village of Borwadi, located about 25 miles from Junnar in the state of Maharashtra.
Forest officers were summoned to the scene on private property to assess the situation, according to the Hindustan Times.
"It is clear that the leopard was hiding in the sugarcane field and was looking for food," Sachin Ragatwan, range forest officer of the forest division, told the Times. "She was pregnant."
A rescue team led by Wildlife SOS senior veterinarian Dr. Ajay Deshmukh from the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Center and forest officials attempted to rescue the leopard by using a motor pump pipe and a trap cage.
Video from Wildlife SOS shows the rescue:
"The motor pump pipe was lowered into the well to help the leopard stay afloat and a trap cage was lowered so that she could safely climb into it," Deshmukh told the Times. "We managed to rescue her from the situation. However, we did not expect what happened next."
According to DNA India, Deshmukh recognized the leopard was traumatized and was taken to the rescue center, and after an initial checkup was placed in an undisturbed location to calm down.
"The leopard had injured herself while trying to stay afloat, which led to extensive internal bleeding," Deshmukh told the Times. "Despite our best efforts, she passed away."
Wildlife officials regularly rescue leopards from wells and produce happy endings, which is what they expected to happen in this instance. But many animals are never even given the chance to survive.
The Times reported that in the state of Maharashtra approximately 1,500 animals—leopards, jackals, civets, jungle cats, wolves and hyenas—have accidentally fallen into open wells over the last decade.
Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder of Wildlife SOS, told the Times the main reason is the lack of proper covers and fencing around the wells. So his organization is on a mission to remedy the issue so that what happened to the pregnant leopard doesn't happen again.