30-35 leopards in vicinity of Bengaluru, besides about 40 in Bannerghatta National Park

Due to expansion of the city, leopard habitats have been converted into human dwellings, industrial hubs and highways

December 03, 2022 02:00 pm | Updated 04:35 pm IST - Bengaluru

A file photo of a leopard in Bannerghatta Biological Park, Bengaluru.

A file photo of a leopard in Bannerghatta Biological Park, Bengaluru.

Leopards have always existed on the outskirts of Bengaluru due to the availability of rocky outcrops and dry deciduous forests, which are their natural habitats. However, due to expansion of the city, leopard habitats have been converted into human dwellings, industrial hubs, and highways.

But some patches of leopard habitat continue to exist around Bengaluru, thereby leopards continue to survive in both natural and man-made habitats (for example, maize fields).

There could be 30-35 leopards just in the vicinity of Bengaluru city, in addition to the 40 leopards that are found in Bannerghatta National Park. 

In media glare

Extensive use of CCTV cameras and social media are highlighting the presence of leopards bringing them in the media glare. For two days, reports of a chital deer hunted by a leopard are making the rounds in the media and social media. The chital was killed at the edge of B.M. Kaval Reserved Forest.

Apart from B.M. Kaval, leopards are naturally found in U.M. Kaval, Roerich Estate, T.K. Falls, Gollahalligudda, and adjoining areas. These forests are connected to Bannerghatta National Park. Hence, it is natural to find leopards in these areas.

Capturing not enough

Merely capturing leopards and translocating them will not solve the issue, as new leopards may come and occupy the place. We need to build awareness of how to live with leopards. There are a few gated communities, and schools that have accepted and continue to live with leopards.

Either around Bengaluru or in rural parts, it is important that people not panic, and take certain precautions. Leopards do not attack humans, and people are not their natural prey. They are shy animals, and are equally afraid of people as we are of leopards.

(Sanjay Gubbi is a conservation biologist based in Karnataka. His work focuses on the conservation of large carnivores like tigers and leopards)

Precautions to be taken if you live at the edge of the city where leopards are found
Do not walk inside or on the edge of forest/scrub areas at night
If you are walking in these areas after dark, it is better to walk with another person, talking or playing music on your mobile phone
Do not panic if you see a leopard at close quarters. Be calm and walk back slowly. Do not run
Learn how to differentiate between leopard pugmarks and dog footprints. Many times, dog footprints are mistaken as leopard pugmarks causing anxiety
Secure livestock, poultry and pet animals safely at night
If you live in an isolated house or a farmhouse, ensure sufficient lighting around the house
A lot of accidents with leopards occur when farmers go to their fields at night to switch on water pumps. Electricity companies can play a big role in reducing conflict by giving three-phase power supply during the day
Do not spread false information

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