Your morning adorable: Abandoned leopard cubs get a second chance thanks to Indian forestry department
A team of forestry department officials at the Indroda Nature Park in Ganghinagar, India, have been tasked with hand-raising these two leopard cubs after they were abandoned by their mother. Bottle-feeding adorable leopard cubs -- now that's a job we wouldn't mind tackling!
Local farmers found the cubs in a sugar cane field, but their mother was nowhere to be found. Concerned for their welfare, the farmers turned the cubs over the the forestry department, which took over their care and began searching for their mother.
Officials managed to capture a female leopard believed to be the mother, but she refused to nurse the cubs. She was later set free in a nearby national park, the Ahmedabad Mirror reported. Because the cubs are too young to survive on their own, park staff have been enlisted to care for them and make sure they receive proper food and vitamins. "They are our youngest guests," keeper Rasik Patel told the Mirror. "We are all very attached to them." The cubs' ordeal has left them slightly underweight, Patel said, but they are otherwise in good health.
Habitat loss has forced many leopards into human settlements in India. Of course, close quarters between humans and wild animals often spells trouble -- particularly, in the leopards' case, when they feed on domestic livestock. Hundreds of leopards have been killed for that reason, or hunted by poachers, in just the last few years, according to Sky News.
See more photos of the cubs after the jump!
-- Lindsay Barnett
Photo credit: Sam Panthaky / AFP/Getty Images