Forest staffers in Dalgaon in Alipurduar today rescued a leopard cub, aged about one and-a-half months, from the Dimdima tea plantation under the Birpara police station in the district.

Plantation workers found the cub near the tea factory in the morning today and quickly passed the information to the Dalgaon forest range authorities, it is learnt.

“Forest staff reached the spot and rescued the animal,” forest sources said. It is learnt that the foresters are searching for the mother leopard and trying to send the cub to its mother. Local people have claimed that the adult leopard gave birth to two cub in a drain in the plantation recently and that they had sighted the cubs with their mother there.

“Somehow, one of the cubs lost its mother and strayed into the factory area in the tea plantation,” local sources said.

“We are trying our best to send the little cub to its mother’s lap. The cub is fine. We are searching for the mother leopard, which is most probably in nearby areas,” said the Range officer of the Dalgaon forest range under the Jalpaiguri forest division, Rajib Dey.

“If we fail to send back the cub to its mother, we may send it to the Dakhin Khayarbari Leaopard Rescue Centre in the Jaldapara National Park,” he added.

On the other hand, fear gripped the local populace as they believe that the mother leopard had become “more ferocious” after it lost its cub.

“The mother leopard which has lost its cub can do anything in the area. We want the forest authorities to arrange for an iron cage in the area to catch the leopard. Some incidents where leopards have attacked people in the plantation have happened earlier,” said a tea plantation worker Bulu Lakra.

“Adult female leopards usually leave the jungles and take shelter in tea plantations near the forests to give birth, as the father leopard has the tendency to eat its own cub,” a wildlife expert claimed today.

It is learnt that forest staff had been waiting till late in the evening as they believe that the leopard may set out in the dark to look for its cub.