A female common leopard weighing about 45kgs was rescued from a snare in Thinleygang below the Dechentshemo central school in Punakha on April 22.

Officials from the Nature Conservation Division (NCD) said the leopard could not be more than 10-years old.

Senior forester with Forest Range Office, Messina, Kencho Dorji, said a villager had first come across the leopard around 5pm on April 21. “He had gone to collect ferns when he had heard a roar. After walking some distance, he had turned back to see the leopard.”

Kencho Dorji said that judging from the surrounding, the leopard must have been caught in a snare was set near a cardamom orchard two days before forest officials were informed.

He said that the snare set from a pear tree trunk had caught the leopard at its hips. “We could not rescue the leopard the same night as we did not have the right equipment to tranquilise her.”

Forest officials then informed the officials at the Wildlife Rescue and Animal Health Section in Thimphu, who had reached Messina the same night.

On April 22 morning, the rescue team from Thimphu, forest officials and some villagers assessed the situation.

Kencho Tshering said it is important to assess before approaching an animal for the safety of both the rescuers and the animal.

He said that it took about an hour and half to tranquilise the leopard, as they could not approach it. “The leopard hid in the trampled bushes, making it hard for the tranquiliser darts to get a clear shot.”

He said an examination showed that the leopard was not injured and was taken to the Wildlife Rescue and Animal Health Section in Taba, Thimphu for further examination.

Officials from the NCD said that after they found the leopard to be healthy, she was released into the forest the same night.

Karma Cheki | Wangdue