Study in progress to gather data on leopard population

Study in progress to gather data on leopard population

 The Nature Conservation Foundation, in collaboration with the Forest department, has begun a study to ascertain the population density of leopards in the State, as Karnataka lacks scientific data on leopards. 

The project on leopard ecology and conflict, will be covering five protected areas and five territorial divisions, spread over 27,000 square km.

Under the project, the first-ever density estimate for leopards has been brought out from Bhadravathi. 

The study was conducted in the Bhadravathi Forest Division, where camera trapping was carried out in a 315-sqkm area to estimate leopard densities in 14 reserved and minor forests (covering Kukvadi- Ubrani, Bhadrapura, Anthargange, Hadikere East, Hadikere West, Rangayyanagiri, Hanne, Dodderi, Attigunda, Nagoli, Kalkere, Kaggi  and Siddaralli). 

A total of 395 photographs of leopards have been taken. Individual leopards were identified using the rosette patterns on their right and left flanks. Panthera V4 camera traps were used for the study. 

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Vinay Luthra said that the department had only helped the researchers. The department officially, however, does not do census of leopards, but only of tigers and elephants, and in the future, an official census will be done, he added. 

The researchers will share the data of the estimation done with the department, and this study, though is a part of their research, will help the department ascertain the population and density of leopards, Luthra said. 

It would help in mitigating conflicts and in the better protection of these animals in the wake of their increasing deaths, he added. 

Meanwhile, there is also a severe scarcity of data on the population density of leopards in the country.

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