Prime Intention of the Blog

"People without children would face a hopeless future; a country without trees and wildlife is almost as helpless".

I still remember my childhood days when I used to visit Dandeli a place where even my father started his professional career and also where my most of the relatives were staying.Even though I never brought up in Dandeli no one could stop me to go there since it was just two hours journey from my native. And during every visit I used to get the scoldings from my father and relatives since I used to spend most of the time in forests than in house.So as I grown up my visit to Dandeli became very less except twice or thrice in a year since I became busy with studies but always I had in my mind that I should contribute something to these magnificent forests which inspired me a lot to fall in love with the Conservation.So it is just an attempt from my side to create awareness to save these magnificent animals and landscapes they exist in.If this blog contributes in a small way to achieve this goal I will be the most happiest person in this world.
This blog mainly focuses towards conservation activities in and around Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve.This blog doesn't provide any information regarding tourism and its related activities in and around Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Counting the Leopards in Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve-A big challenge for Wildlife Researchers?

This information was pending with me since longtime but had forgotten.Suddenly I remembered and thought to share it.
I have always struggled to find information available on Melanistic leopards so called Black Panthers which forms 60% of the leopard population in DATR.And as far as i know there has not been any specific research work carried out to know the fascinating facts of Melanism.And also it has been a challenging work for the Karnataka Forest Department and Center for Wildlife Studies(NGO known for wildlife research mainly in western ghats) to estimate the leopard population in DATR.
Hence i want to bring out some of the facts of Melanism and challenges faced by Wildlife Researchers to estimate the Leopard population in Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve.


Is there a reliable estimate of the population of leopards in India? The answer is a resounding NO. It is definitely not available at the national level but it is beginning to be available for a few sites. Akin to the stripe pattern for tigers which are unique for individuals, the rosette coat pattern is also individually unique in leopards. With the increasing use of camera traps and robust statistical techniques, research teams including ours at the Wildlife Conservation Society-India Program are beginning to get a handle on the leopard population at a few sites. Camera trapping data is throwing up an interesting challenge for us from the Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve. Several of our camera trap pictures of leopards from this site are of melanistic leopards which prevents us from identifying the individual as the rosette pattern is no longer distinctly visible.

Melanistic leopards are often mistakenly referred to as black panthers. Melanistic leopards are normal leopards with excessive pigmentation, technically referred to as melanism. Both melanistic and normal coloured leopards belong to the same species and the leopard population in the Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve actually comprises a mix of both melanistic as well as normally coloured leopards. Melanism is most probably an adaptation by the leopard to low-light environments like rainforests. A darker coat colour provides the animal with much better camouflage in rainforests which in turn could well enable it to be a more efficient predator.

It is about time that key populations of leopards are monitored across India. We now have excellent field techniques as well as advanced methods to analyse the data to get accurate estimates of leopard populations. Regular monitoring of leopard populations using the most advanced methods will enable us to not only track these populations but also to safeguard them.

The above article was published in Sanctuary Asia Magazine and can be read from the link below:

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