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Prep Before Cheetahs Become Free Ranging In Kuno National Park

  When another male cheetah, Obaan,joined the two rock stars – Freddie and Elton -- in yet another bigger enclosure of Kuno national park on November 18, only five female cheetahs remained in smaller bomas in the park where they were released on September 17. Like the three males, the five female spotted cats will also be released soon in larger bomas to run and chase their prey to kill. India’s  wildlife authorities accompanied by the experts from the cheetah conservation fund (CCF) from Namibia   have been taking utmost care and caution  before the  cheetahs in Kuno are ultimately made “free -ranging” meaning released in open to move around the entire length and breadth of the park. “Free ranging cheetahs and their monitoring  will be like a grand finale of the Project Cheetah to be played in Kuno for a longer  period in the coming years'", said a senior official of the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFC&C).  Apprehensions, Concerns  on Chee

Return of ‘Bagheera’ in the Mowgli land of Pench

In the Mowgli land of Central India’s Pench tiger reserve, ‘ Bagheera’  has returned. And this black leopard is attracting the attention of a large number of wildlife tourists. So far only a few lucky people got a chance to have some glimpses of this elusive big cat, mostly wandering around the buffer zone of the jungle and also often visiting the core area. Despite the presence of  the star big -cats like Collarwalli, Patdev or L-Mark, there is a lot of buzz  in the park about ‘ Bagheera‘ too.

Kipling Immortalises Black Panther

Rudyard Kipling immortalized the black panther  –Bagheera. As a child Kipling lived in India and most of his stories are set in the country, though it is not entirely clear in exactly which part of the country.  The jungles that claim to be associated with Kipling stories include Pench National Park located near the district of Seoni. 

Also read: Like Her Mother in Pench, Patdev Tigress delivers 5 cubs

The park is also popularly known as Mowgli land and the entire region is called Kipling country.  Also called as the ghost of the jungle, black panthers are a smart, stealth-like attacker, its dark coat helps it hide and stalk prey very easily, especially at night. In mid –June,  the ‘Bagheera’ in Pench was sighted for the longest duration when it hunted a deer and ate lazily.

Melanistic Black Leopard is Rare

Black leopards are extremely rare creatures. The one found in  Pench  was first spotted sometime in mid 2020  when the country was facing a lockdown.  It was like a saya, a shadow, a forest guard reminisces. “For a moment it was here and then disappeared in the woods”, he said.  In the eerie jungle  silence , he looked for the cat again but it did not return. Even otherwise, the leopards are elusive.  Spotting the black variant of this cat  in the dark jungle is even  more difficult. A black panther is the melanistic colour variant of the leopard (Panthera pardus) and the jaguar (Panthera onca).It is  not a subspecies but a melanistic breed of   Jaguars and Leopards. In Latin American, they are black Jaguars while in Asia and Africa, they are black leopards. Black panthers have excess black pigments. Though their typical rosettes are also present , they  are not visible prominently.

Also read: Leopards Need Tiger-Like Protection Programmes in India

They have been found mostly in tropical forests in Kenya, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and Java, and black jaguars in Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica and Paraguay. Melanism is caused by a recessive allele, one of  the two or more possible forms of a gene that are found at the same place on a chromosome, in the leopard. In a way , they are opposite of the while tigers. A recessive gene inherited from both parents is the cause of the white coloration. Roughly 1 out of 10,000 tigers are born with this rare genetic mutation, called leucism which causes the tiger to lose pigmentation in its fur. Similarly, there are white deer and white bear (not polar bears) also spotted, though rarely, in Indian jungles .As Indian wildlife research work is tiger driven, leopards are neglected. “Despite their widespread distribution, leopard habitats are being increasingly fragmented. This has resulted in leopards venturing out into human- dominated landscapes and ending up in conflicts”, a government report said.

Images :Sachin Kinjal Wildlife.Sourced by: Vikram Singh Parihar , director Pench tiger reserve


  1. What a disperate creatures in Indian jungle..
    Thanks to mother Earth....


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