Engagement with Media Change the Way Human-wildlife Interactions are Reported

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Mass media plays an important role in shaping public perception of human-wildlife interactions. In India, sensational and horrific imagery is often used to portray encounters between the two, even though most of them are neutral.

Media reports on human-leopard interactions are usually focussed on either attacks on people by leopards, or leopards being killed by people. The area in and around Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai, India, is a leopard hotspot, and witnessed many leopard attacks on people in … Read More

Living with Leopards – Conflict or Coexistence?

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Nayan Khanolkar first chanced upon Luna the leopardess in 2014 while monitoring the man-animal conflict in Mumbai. Back then she was an almost grown up leopard cub roaming in Aarey Colony with her mother. Over the years he and his team have trailed Luna and watched her become an adult, independent leopardess having grown and thrived in an urban landscape. She learnt and understood the human ways enough to manoeuvre around them.

She knew that where humans roamed during the … Read More

Lessons from Leopards — Uncovering the Real Conflicts in Sanjay Gandhi National Park

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This article is condensed from ‘Cities, Towns, and the Places of Nature’ (A. Rademacher, K. Sivaramakrishnan ed., Hong Kong University Press, In Press). The study in question was conducted by Frédéric Landy, Professor of Geography, University Paris Ouest-Nanterre, France, in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SNGP) in Mumbai, and documents the dangerous and sometimes deadly presence of leopards in and around the park. It also focuses on the fact that leopards in Mumbai are not only a matter of human-nonhuman … Read More

Living with Leopards Outside Protected Areas in India

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This article was first published in The Pioneer on August 11, 2012 with the title ‘Leopards are shy, not aggressive’. It is being reproduced here with permission from the author.

Urban perceptions

Our idea of wildlife often does not match what it really is. Perhaps it stems from the holiday tours to the forests where we go to enjoy the weekend. From our homes in the concrete jungles we check into comfortable, plush resorts in the midst of verdant … Read More

The Leopard Crisis

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India has lost no less than 62 leopards in the first 50 days of 2010—more than a leopard a day, according to records available with the Wildlife Protection Society of India. Given that within the same period we have lost eight tigers, the Panthera pardus may well beat the tiger in the extinction race. The killings are mainly concentrated in Uttarakhand: from the dawn of the new year to February 20, 26 of these big cats met their end, a … Read More

What do Carnivores Eat?

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As umbrella species, the tiger and its co-predators, the leopard and dhole play a fundamental role in shaping prey communities in the forest. Understanding the food habits and dietary seperation of these three large carnivores is vital for conservation of prey species and overall ecosystem functioning.

Authors Anish P. Andheria, K. Ullas Karanth and N. Samba Kumar conducted a study of diets of three sympatric large carnivores, the tiger (Panthera tigris), the leopard (Panthera pardus) and … Read More

The Tree Whisperer!

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The leopard is one of the key predators of Bandipur Tiger Reserve. It is elusive, graceful and an expert at climbing trees. It has fantastic camouflage, making it difficult even for a trained eye to spot this spotted cat. Over the years, I have seen many a leopard by following pugmarks or alarm calls, and every sighting has been a learning experience.

Including watching this male, which is rather bold and doesn’t seem to mind the safari vehicles. This individual … Read More

Catalysing Awareness — How Mumbai’s Media Represents its Leopards

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The common leopard (Panthera pardus) is a highly adaptable species that is found throughout the country (and beyond) in a variety of habitats, from the pristine rainforests to human-modified and dominated landscapes. Despite its ability to survive on a wide range of prey species including the wild and the domestic, the leopard population is on a downward spiral owing to intense persecution and pressures of illegal wildlife trade.

Authors Saloni Bhatia, Vidya Athreya, Richard Grenyer and … Read More

Wild Leopard Rescued From South Delhi in Major Operation

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In a dramatic seven hour long rescue operation by NGOs Wildlife SOS and Friendicoes SECA with the cooperation of the Delhi Police and the Fire Department, a grievously injured adult leopard was rescued from South Delhi’s chattarpur area.

The wild leopard possibly from the Aravalli hills was spotted leaping onto a high wall of a farm house in Chattarpur DLF farms by a local guard. The leopard in an attempt to scale the 15 foot wall got impaled on the … Read More

New Genetics Research on Leopards and Tigers in India Underscores Importance of Protecting Forest Corridors

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As rapid economic expansion continues to shape the Asian landscape on which many species depend, time is running out for conservationists aiming to save wildlife such as tigers and leopards. Scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute have used genetic analysis to find that the natural forest corridors in India are essential to ensuring a future for these species. According to two studies recently published in two papers, these corridors are successfully connecting populations of tigers and leopards to ensure … Read More

TRAFFIC’s latest study “Illuminating the Blind Spot”: A study on illegal trade in Leopard parts in India

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New Delhi, India, 28th September 2012 — At least four Leopards have been poached and their body parts entered into illegal wildlife trade every week for at least 10 years in India, according to TRAFFIC’s latest study “Illuminating the Blind Spot: A study on illegal trade in Leopard parts in India” launched today by Dr Divyabhanusinh Chavda, President, WWF-India.

The study documents a total of 420 seizures of Leopard skins, bones and other body parts reported from 209 localities in … Read More

Melanistic and Common Leopard Pair

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On August 15, 2010, we were in the Nilgiris, in search of a leopard that had killed a porcupine the previous day. It was raining heavily in the morning, but stopped around 3 PM. As the rain stopped, we noticed something black on top of a hill and we cautiously approached it. We climbed about 500 feet of the hill, but the animal had vanished by the time we reached the top. We waited for sometime and a common leopard … Read More

Leopard in a Tea Estate, Nilgiris

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This leopard was photographed in a tea estate, near Kothagiri in the Nilgiris. I have also seen this leopard atop a rock, watching people below plucking tea leaves. So far there have been no reports of a conflict. Thus, at the moment, the leopard lives in harmony with the people in the area.

Editor’s note:  Leopards in India are often found in human-dominated landscapes. Here is another image of a leopard outside a protected area. For insights into … Read More

Camera ‘Traps’ Black Leopards in Dandeli-Anshi

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Perhaps because they remind people of ‘Bagheera’, from Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, or perhaps because of their distinctive look, black leopards have always generated a buzz. Although they are just a genetic variant among the more common spotted form, it is usually assumed, even among many conservationists, that black leopards are a different species. Though the black form also occurs in dry forests, it tends to be more common in denser and humid forest regions (for example virtually all leopards … Read More

BPL – 123, Tale of a Leopard

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This one belies the field guides and the natural history books, which usually dismiss the leopard’s diet as “scrounging on smaller prey.” In actual fact, leopards are powerful predators that routinely kill fairly hefty prey such as spotted deer and sambar fawns.

Even so, Vinay S Kumar’s photograph of a leopard dragging a gaur calf is not a sight you see everyday. The picture, which was taken in Karnataka’s Bandipur Tiger Reserve, shows a male leopard dragging his massive kill … Read More

Leopard With Gaur Calf Kill, Bandipur

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I had heard about this leopard with a gaur calf kill 3 days prior to making this image. The leopard was unable to carry the kill atop the tree because of its size. The kill lay vertically beneath the tree but no one saw it till the leopard got down from the tree and dragged the kill to other side of the game track. Inspite of multiple days of feeding the kill was still massive in size relative to the … Read More

Leopard Outside Protected Areas

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We all know that unlike tigers, leopards are not strictly confined to national parks wildlife sanctuaries. This leopard (do you see the two little cubs!) was photographed near Jayapura Village, H D Kote Road. Because of rapid expansion of urban areas, we constantly hear of leopard captures in towns and even cities. In Mysore city alone, during the last few months, three leopards were captured:

Chamundi Hills: http://www.deccanherald.com/content/217901/leopard-trapped-chamundi-hills.html
N R Mohala, Mysore: http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/karnataka/article3003671.ece
Bellikere, Mysore: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-karnataka/article2852542.ece

Melanistic (Black) Panther, Bhadra Tiger Reserve

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Bhadra Tiger Reserve is seeing a few melanistic (Black) Panther sightings. Just yesterday (20th Feb 2012), tourists in the backwaters of the Bhadra reservoir saw this panther from a boat at 8am. There has been a couple of earlier sightings too. Researchers at the Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS) report of a melanistic leopard in a camera-trap capture from Bhadra in February 2009.

A black leopard is the same species as a normal-colored leopard with a high amount of pigment … Read More

The Leopards of Mumbai

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Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) in the north of Mumbai seems to have always been associated with leopards attacking humans. However, a little delving into the patterns of attacks finds that conflict is a recent phenomenon. The attacks began around the nineties and took on its worst form in 2004, when in a single month in May, nineteen attacks on people were reported. Now again, post-2006, there have been no attacks on humans.

Recently the Forest Department of SGNP (headed … Read More

106 Leopards And 19 Tigers Dead In Uttarakhand This Year

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As many as 106 leopards and 19 tigers have died in Uttarakhand till Dec 10 of this year. 57 leopards were killed by poachers, 19 died of old age or sickness, 7 were killed in accidents, 6 were killed by the forest department after being declared man-eaters, 6 died in territorial fights, 6 died during rescue operations, 3 were killed by other animals and carcasses of 2 cubs were found. Releasing these figures, the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) … Read More

Leopard Trapped In Well, Maharashtra

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This leopard chased a village dog and fell into a percolation well in Takli Dokeshwar village, Ahmednagar district. These percolation wells which dot the landscape are at ground level without a parapet wall (and mostly surrounded by shrubbery) and it is common for leopards to fall in them. The leopard (named Ajoba by the study team; codenamed 5863) was captured with the help of a ladder (that led to a cage) and then fitted with a GPS+ collar. It was … Read More

261 Leopards Have Died in 2011

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Around 261 leopards have died between January and early September of 2011. Rising human-animal conflict accounts for a large number as well as poaching. Many of the deaths occur when leopards enter human habitations and the scared people try to chase the animal away. According to Belinda Wright of WPSI, this is an issue that needs to go beyond the law and needs creation of awareness amongst people on the need to protect these animals. Praveen Bhargav of Wildlife First … Read More

Forest Department Rescues Leopard from Narmada Canal, Gujarat

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A four to five year old leopard was rescued from a Narmada canal in Junagadh district. Villagers from Chelaka village had alerted the department and the leopard was found taking rest in a 2.5 feet radius pipe. After a three hour operation, the forest department succeeded in getting the animal to enter a cage kept at the one end of the pipe. The leopard appears to have travelled from Sasan Forests which are a part of the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary.… Read More

Leopard Runover by Truck on Bangalore NICE Road, Feb 2011

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A leopard was run over by a heavy vehicle on the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE) Road, connecting Bannerghatta Road and Kanakapura Road. It shows how much the urban sprawl have begun infringing on wildlife habitat. Forest officials and the Bannerghatta police, who visited the spot visit in the morning, said that the leopard sustained head injuries and died on the spot. The forests urban department which has ordered a probe is in the process of identifying the vehicle from … Read More

Leopards Poached More Aggressively than Tigers

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Six leopards are poached for every tiger that is killed. Leopard skins are in great demand in China. Their bones are also often passed off as tiger cub bones. Leopards are also involved in a lot of man-animal conflicts and are often killed with brutality for straying into human habitations.

In 2010, 180 leopards were killed through poaching whereas the total number killed stands at 328. In the first six months of 2011, there have already been 79 poaching related … Read More