Black leopard caught on camera at BRT Tiger Reserve

A black leopard at BRT Tiger Reserve.

A black leopard at BRT Tiger Reserve. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The elusive black leopard of the BRT Tiger Reserve, which was first documented nearly two years ago by the Forest Department, has made its appearance again.

The black leopard was first camera trapped in August 2020 by the forest department and has now reappeared in the camera traps set by Sanjay Gubbi and his team of Holématthi Nature Foundation in BRT Tiger Reserve.

Incidentally, this male black leopard was also camera trapped in the adjoining PG Palya Range of MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary in December 2020. It was identified by the rosette patterns on its body and is estimated to be about six years old.

Activists say the camera-trapped images of the same black leopard from BRT Tiger Reserve and MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary underlines the importance of ensuring the corridor for wildlife movement.

Dr. Gubbi said a narrow forest corridor of 1.6 km connects BRT Tiger Reserve with MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary. The documentation of this leopard in both these protected areas further highlights the importance that the corridor is critical and needs to be conserved. The Kollegala-Hasanur Road (State Highway 38) passes through this narrow wildlife corridor and vehicular traffic poses a significant threat to the wildlife as it obstructs the movement of large mammals.

A release said the black leopard, a melanistic variant of the regular coloured leopard, is now documented in all the five tiger reserves (Nagarahole, Bandipur, Bhadra, BRT and Kaali) of the State. It has also been recorded in Nugu Wildlife Sanctuary adjoining Bandipur Tiger Reserve.

In addition, it has been recorded in some of the forests outside the protected areas including Honnavara, Udupi, Kundapura, and other areas.

In Karnataka, the highest density of black leopards is possibly in Kaali Tiger Reserve in Uttara Kannada as several black leopards are captured on camera traps set by the Forest Department. The black leopard found in the Kakanakote area of Nagarahole Tiger Reserve has been a big tourist attraction, the release added.

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2022 2:25:01 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/black-leopard-camera-trapped-at-brt-tiger-reserve/article65447332.ece