Skip to main content

Egyptian Vultures: Victims of Myths And Misconception

In one of the most shocking cases of wildlife trade, seven endangered Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus), have been recovered from a man traveling from Kanpur to Manmad in Maharashtra. Wrapped in colourful cloth, the vultures were hidden inside a basket in Pushpak Express when the railway police rounded up the man with the threatened birds. The arrest is likely to unearth a wildlife crime syndicate. This blog will keep you updated on the issue . The scavenger birds are listed as endangered in the IUCN red list  threatened species because of its “rapidly declining"  population world over”. Myths Linked With Vultures Special task force (SIT) of Madhya Pradesh forest department is quizzing Fareed Sheikh (60) who was found in possession of 7 birds from a train at Khandwa railway station. He turned out to be only a   carrier-  like those  in drug trafficking. Fareed said that  Sameer Khan, a resident of  Kanpur, handed him over the vultures and  he was  asked to transfer the co

Shhhh - Leopard is watching you

Beware of Leopard (Panthera pardus ), the cat could be next door. A leopard in Lucknow mauled over 20 residents as the spotted cat stalked the busy roads in the last week of December in 2021. The wildcat wandered in the state capital of Uttar Pradesh as a team of over 100 members of forest department, police and others continued to make efforts to capture the cat. The city was on a high alert. People were panicking. The wild cat was ultimately caught on December 28. Over 600 kms away in Bhopal, not one but three leopards continue to move in different pockets of the city. There were no reports of any attack on residents. But pug marks and CCTV footage confirmed the presence of leopards in the city. There were reports of the presence of leopards in Pune in Maharashtra and Chattarpur in Madhya Pradesh. But why are leopards attracted to cities in this part of the year. Experts believe it is food-easy prey and garbage dumps of cities- that draws the attention of the animal.

Are They Turning Garbage Eaters ? 

Though leopards are a countryside animal, mostly found in the space between forests and villages, they often wreak havoc in cities. Pushed by large carnivores, they are moving more outside the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. For the past many years , the wild cat has started venturing inside the cities and metros like Delhi and Mumbai. Leopards generally avoid humans but they tolerate proximity to humans better than lions and tigers. They often come into conflict with humans while raiding livestock and domestic dogs. 

Also readLeopards Need Tiger-Like Protection Programmes in India

Many wildlife experts believe that the “ unsustainable land use changes in urban spaces” is fast turning leopards to “garbage eater”. “ As they habituated to city surroundings , a large number of leopards- almost 30 % of  its population - depended on carrion feeding”, a very senior wildlife expert  involved with project tiger for decades said. In cities they look for hotel leftovers and anything proteinous on the garbage dumps, he said .It means over 3800  leopards  from an estimated 12852 leopards found in India may have been roaming in cities looking for food .   This picture of a leopard clicked on a  garbage dump in the city of Sagar in Madhya Pradesh is testimony to the expert comment. A senior researcher of wildlife Institute of India said, “ as the leopard  enters a city, it gets easy prey in the form of  stray cattle, feral dogs   and pigs among others”.

Need to Collar City Leopards

This might be a coincidence that this year a large number of  leopards  intruding in cities were reported in the month of December .Many wildlife experts said that they  have always been around and may be more “noticeable “ this time around. A Wildlife Institute of India  scientist said that  leopards  are more visible  in cities from November to March. This might be the time when they mark their territory  and resource area in cities.  "The government must think of putting radio collar around their neck to  understand the movement and habits of the urban leopards”, many  experts believe. 

Also readProblem Of Plenty: Gir Lions Turn Scavengers As Deadly Virus Stares 

Like in jungles,they would always want to defend their resource area in urban spaces, they said. ‘Status of Leopard in India 2018’ , the report released one year ago in December last year offers an answer to why leopards are venturing out in cities. It said “Despite their widespread distribution, leopard habitats are being increasingly fragmented, and such small fragmented areas with low wild prey densities cannot harbour a sizable population of leopards.This has resulted in leopards venturing out into human- dominated landscapesand ending up in conflicts.

    Form Urban Leopard Conservation Groups

The species is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because populations have declined following habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching for the illegal trade of skins and body parts. Besides, the wildcat is also  persecuted due to conflict situations. 

Also readSurviving the Toughest Test : A tale Told by Tiger Siblings

Conservationist and biologist Sanjay Gubbi, author of Leopard Diaries: The Rosette in India said  there was little understanding about leopards in India. Earlier this year in an interview to a web portal, he said, “ Habitat loss, poaching of prey species especially outside protected areas, human-leopard conflict, mortality due to vehicular collisions and snares, poaching of leopards for their body parts are some of the serious threats leopards face in India.” .Interestingly, he emphasized on “ forming leopard conservation groups in urban areas where these big cats are found on the periphery of cities and towns”.

Cover Pic: Representational 


Popular posts from this blog

Clouded Leopards Kiss Clouds Atop Nagaland Peak

  Photographic evidence of elusive clouded leopard ((Neofelis nebulosa) has been recorded at an elevation of 3,700 meters  not in a wildlife sanctuary but in a community-owned forest along the India-Myanmar border in the north eastern state of Nagaland.  This rare species of leopard is listed as 'vulnerable' under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and its population is unknown in the wild. A team of researchers gathered evidence of four leopards- two adults and two cubs. Found on the Highest Peak of Nagaland  The findings have been published in the winter 2021 issue of Cat News, the IUCN/Species Survival Commission (SSC) Cat Specialist Group’s biannual newsletter. The state animal of Meghalaya, the clouded leopard is a medium-sized felid (a mammal of the cat family), and is the smallest of the large wild cats. These leopards  are largely known to inhabit low-elevation evergreen rainforests and are spread from the Himalayan foothills in Nepal, Bhutan and India to Myanmar,

Tigress Abandons Two Cubs Near Bandhavgarh National Park

  A tigress abandoned her two cubs in a farm field  of a small village of Katni district .After waiting for their mothers for about a week,  the forest departent  transferred the cubs-about two and half months old- to  White tiger Safari, Mukundpur in Rewa. The big cat seems to have dispersed from  Bandhavgarh national park , about 65 kms away from Jhiriya village of Katni where the cubs were located. Katni is strategically located between Bandhavgarh and Panna tiger reserves. Wildlife experts fear for the life of both -the tigress and her cubs. Tigress , Cubs Unsafe    The tigress was spotted by some villagers on December 12 night in Jhiriya village. She was accompanying her three cubs. But in the morning, the two cubs were found in a farm but the tigress was missing with the third cub. When villagers first spotted the cubs, they were shivering in cold in the absence of the warmth of their mother.  A senior forest department official said that after the tigress dispersed from some n

Fertility Stories Immortalise Collarwali Tigress of Pench Tiger Reserve

  She was a superstar of Pench tiger reserve . The tigress that livedmore than 16 years and delivered a record number of 29  cubs in8 litters died on January 15 evening. Collarwali, as she was fondly referred toafter a radio collar was put around her neck in 2008, was darling of wildlifetourists who would visit the tiger reserve. They would remember the tigress forher ‘catwalks’ on the pathways of the national park giving them ample opportunitiesto click pictures. She would make easy wildlife photography. Collarwali was immortalizedafter scores of national and international documentaries were made on her. The Departmentof Post in India issued a special cover envelope of Collarwali  on World Sparrow Day in 2015 Besides, NewZealand and Canada too issued personalized stamps on the tigress in the sameyear. The park director said she died because of old age complicationsin her intestine.  Apall of gloom descended over Pench while her funeral was performed on January 16. RIP Collarwali Offic