Lakshmi, the rescued leopard cub in Ranthambhore

Leopard cub in RanthambhoreThis is the story, so far, of a female leopard cub rescued by the forest department in Ranthambhore in Rajasthan in India.

For starters, why did the cub, now called Lakshmi, need to be rescued ? There were two theories going around when I visited the forest during the Christmas week of 2007.

To view a video made using photos of the cub, click here.

How did the cub get abandoned? One, a mother leopard had wandered into a village with three of here cubs. Fearing for their safety, the villagers tried to drive away the animals with stones injuring Lakshmi. The mother fled with two of her babies, unable to take Lakshmi with her.

The other story going around, told to me by a local guide Kamal, is that the mother tried to jump a ditch clinging Lakshmi between her teeth, and dropped her in the process. Unable to take her along, she abandoned the cub and left.

Is the future one of confinement? Whatever the truth, the cub is now being taken care of forest officials. While they may be doing a good job of it, their love may actually have already proven detrimental to Lakshmi’s future which may be confined to a zoo or a circus. These are some of the reasons being given by those in Rathambhore who can claim to be a bit knowledgeable about this topic:

  • It may already be too late for Lakshmi to learn the way to survival in the forest even though she was only a few weeks old in December.
  • The most dangerous of animals, unless they turn man-eater, never attack human beings except in self-defence. But Lakshmi is getting to interact with a lot of people – including daily visitors like me – which is taking away the fear of humans from her. In other words, she can attack any species now if left in the wild; they are all the same to her.
  • Could this have been avoided? Yes, if she was kept in an big closed space away from human contact except her immediate caretaker. And allowed to hunt for small animals within this enclosure initially and eventually left in the jungle. But her being made a spectacle for all may have already proven too late for her.

Do you feel for Lakshmi? I am sure we all do.



  1. You have been grossly misinformed about Laxmi! Nobody, including your uniformed guide, gave you the right story. Nobody told you who is really taking care of her and that she truly have a good change to walk free. She is being tought all the survival skills she needs and I can assure you she’ll be a wild leopard within a year. Rehabilitation of wild animals have been successfully done in Africa countless of times.
    And those theories of why she was abandoned….we’ll I can just laugh. If you feel that you care enough to know the real deal, feel free to mail me.

  2. I agree with Gerhard and after meeting and watching Laxmi being trained in way that her mother would have done. I would be very surprised if she dose not go back into the wild as she belongs. My domestic cat almost went wild in just two week of us being away in India.

    Tot siens

  3. Hi Alan,

    Thanks for the vote of confidence!! Laxmi is doing great and very much on her way to the wild.

    I’ll keep this blog informed on her progress.

    Till then,

    Baie groete,

    Gerhard Wiehahn

  4. I agree with Gerhard completly on this one and I do believe that Mr Ajay Jain should actually learn to keep his journalistic mouth shut if he doesnt know what he is talking about !! I to have seen Laxmi and will be very surprised to see Laxmi not in the wild.The only way this beautiful animal will not make it into the wild is because JOURNALISTS like the above mentioned keep bringing attention to Laxmi, making it more difficult for the authorities to keep tourists away.
    Ranthambore good luck with the rest of the Rehabilitation, hope to visit you all soon again and thank you for taking care of such a beautiful animal.

  5. Hi Benjamin,

    I read your comment with interest, and a little disappointment too (your choice of words).

    As any journalist, one can be misinformed. But as a responsible one, it is also my duty to post correct information once I have it. And I did that in a following post which you can read at

    But nevertheless, I do appreciate your concern for our natural world, and hope more people start feeling this way for real positive change to follow.

    Look forward to more comments and feedback from you on – and I never mind critical ones provided they lead to healthy debate.



  6. Dear Laxmi,
    I wish all the best ang good return in to wild.
    The leopards are for me mor better animals in world.I love leopards


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