Other States

Camera traps record rare black panther in Odisha

Sighted in the Sundargarh Forest Division, Odisha is the ninth State to record the presence of the shy black panther. Special arrangement

Sighted in the Sundargarh Forest Division, Odisha is the ninth State to record the presence of the shy black panther. Special arrangement  

Footage from Garjanpahad Reserve Forest

The wildlife wing of Odisha’s forest and Environment Department have recorded the presence of black panthers in a forest in Sundargarh district. The photographs make Odisha the ninth State in India where the elusive and rare big cat has been seen.

“Black panther or melanistic leopard is a colour variant of the Indian leopard and the footage of this animal has been captured repeatedly by cameras installed in Garjanpahad Reserve Forest of Hemgir Range of Sundargarh Forest Division,” said Sandeep Tripathi, Odisha’s Chief Wildlife Warden, on Monday. It was the first ever footage of black panther in the forests of Odisha, he said.

Camera traps were deployed under the guidance of Arun Kumar Mishra, Divisional Forest Officer of Sundargarh, and Bhakta Rath and Nimain Palei, researchers with the Chief Wildlife Warden since December 2015. The cameras was installed in 2015 after villagers and tribal people reported having seen the animal, the officer said.

“The leopards’ skins vary in colour and the jet black melanistic form is called black panther. It is as shy as a normal leopard and very difficult to detect. It is mostly found in densely forested areas of southern India,” he said.

The reserve forest where the footage of the black panther has been recorded is spread across the Hemgir and Gopalpur Range, covering an area of 5947.47 ha and 4090.65 ha respectively. Although the presence of black panther was reported 26 years ago, no scientific or pictorial records could establish the claim.

Black panthers have also been reported from Kerala (Periyar Tiger Reserve), Karnataka (Bhadra Tiger Reserve, Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve and Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary), Chhattisgarh (Achanakmar Tiger Reserve), Maharashtra (Satara), Goa (Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary), Tamil Nadu (Mudumalai Tiger Reserve), Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 2:17:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/camera-traps-record-rare-black-panther-in-odisha/article23953165.ece

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