Two days ago, a small leopard cub arrived from Mussina. It was taken to a veterinarian prior to its arrival and they suspected that it had a broken leg. X-rays unfortunately could not be taken at the vet clinic as their equipment was out of order.
Yesterday we arranged with our local veterinarian to see the leopard cub this morning. An x-ray confirmed that indeed the fibula was broken and the tibia had a hairline crack. It is a very lucky leopard cub indeed considering what the poor fellow had to endure.
A cattle farmer in the area whose farm borders the Limpopo River was busy repairing fences that had been washed away in a recent flashflood. His workers alerted him to a strange calling that was coming from some driftwood that washed up against some trees on an island in the river. He took his binoculars and was amazed to see a small leopard cub calling desperately; most likely for its mother. He monitored the cub and the opposite bank of the river for some time and soon realized that there was no mother in sight anywhere and decided to come up with a rescue plan for the young cub.
A worker was sent to collect some ropes at the farmhouse not too far away and as the sun started setting the young farmer tied the rope around his waist that was attached to the cable of the winch on his vehicle. Another rope tied a bag to his belt. The current was quite strong, but this desperate situation needed swift and decisive action. The young cub could fall back into the river and would most certainly drown.
The current carried him downstream and he managed to swim and reach the small island of driftwood against the trees. A pair of welding gloves protected his hands as he picked up the snarling cub and placed it in the bag which he now tied to his chest. He pulled in the rope until the cable of winch almost reached him.
His workers were instructed exactly what to do and as he entered to river again floating on his back clutching the bag on his chest they quickly started rolling in the winch on his Landcruiser to bring in their boss and his valuable cargo through the rapidly flowing river. Both the leopard cub and his rescuer reached the river bank amongst cheers from his staff.
From our side, we promised him we would ensure the best possible treatment for the cub and we also gave our word that this cub would be raised in such a manner that it will be possible to return it to the wild as soon as it is ready.
A new cast was applied to the leg and we expect it to make a full recovery within the next 4-6 weeks. We will keep you posted on its progress.