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Experts Anxious Till Cheetahs Adapt Kuno National Park, Tourism Not Priority

  International cheetah experts are closely monitoring the movements of 8 spotted cats released on September 17 in Kuno National Park of central India state of Madhya Pradesh. Cheetahs are quarantined for a month and only trained Namibian handlers are allowed to “take care” of the  fastest land animal housed in different small enclosures. The animals are watched from machaans –  watch tower situated about “100 meters away”. Amidst continuing negative media reports on the success of the translocation project, the biggest concern of the Union ministry of forest, environment and climate change (MoEFC&C)   is adaptation  of new environs. “Let's see how soon the cheetahs adapt Kuno”.   Indian Officials Optimistic   Cheetahs are housed in smaller enclosures, the one shown on televisions sets when PM Narendra Modi released them on his birthday on September 17. After one month, they are likely to be released in a bigger enclosure. In another one month or so, they will be released in a

Jungle Book Comes Alive in Pench Tiger Reserve

black leopard of pench national park

Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book seems to have come alive in Pench tiger reserve. Another black leopard , about a year old  cub, is being sighted almost on regular basis in the buffer zone of the national park also known as Mowgli land , immortalized by the Kipling’s creation of the   characters in the famous book set up in the  landscape  spread across Seeonee ( Seoni district) of Madhya Pradesh. Bagheera, a fictional black -leopard -character in the Kipling book, is Mowgli's intelligent guardian.

Bagheera On The Move

black leopard of pench tiger reserve

The melanistic Indian leopard was a friend, protector and mentor to the "man-cub" Mowgli. The word bagheera  is a Hindi term for panther or leopard, although the root word bagh means tiger. This year during the monsoon months of August and September,  a black leopard cub was spotted . Rahul Upadhyaya , a forest ranger, told a news agency ,"The black panther has been spotted after a gap of two years. Since the last few days, tourists have spotted the nine-month-old black panther cub with its mother on trees, hills and other areas of the Pench Tiger Reserve's Telia beat." 

Also readCheetah Safari: Kuno National Park Awaits South African Green Signal 

Though it is not confirmed, the cub looks like a female and  is accompanied by her sibling and mother in the Telia range.  The siblings  are also making their own kills independently. Recently they killed a langur but it was snatched away by a dominating male  leopard. A black leopard was sighted frequently during 2020 . It was seen a few days ago  in a non-tourist zone of the park.  As a part of the buffer zone was opened, some visitors had regular sightings of the unique wildlife in the Telia zone as the family of the three leopards gorged on a kill. 

black leopard in Pench

After the sightings, the   twitter handle of the park was buzzing with the breaking news of Bagheera. The tweets were accompanied by videos and pictures courtesy the visitors. “All across the world it usually takes months, sometimes even years to sight a rare animal, however in #Pench one can see the wonders of the natural world much more frequently.”  “Baghera with a companion strolling across the #buffer in #Pench”,was another tweet.The tiger reserve shot another tweet inviting  tourists to  see the black beauty: Baghera with a companion!! Visit Pench and go on a Buffer Safari  this monsoon season....

Also readGujarat Lions Are Weak, Lack  Vigor

 It tweeted again: Gone in a flash!! Leopards are also superfast & highly agile. Check out how swiftly our Baghera made a dash across the forest road. This was accompanied by a video  showing black leopard running accross the jungle road.  To generate more interest and add colour, the park tweted again : Visit Pench & you realise why it was an inspiration to #Rudyard #Kipling. While #Baghera the black panther is being sighted regularly for past few days, tourists today saw the #wolfpack being chased by #sherkhan 

 Ghost of Jungle

black leopard

Kabini  wildlife sanctuary of Nagarhole National park in Karnataka is famous for the sightings of the black leopards. 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 America, 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 readTiger Boom of Panna: River Project To Lead Reversal of The Trend   

Veteran veterinarian of Pench National Park Dr Akhilesh Mishra said that , “The term melanism refers to black pigment  and its intensity in Pench  cub is about 40 %  as its rosettes are   visible unlike  that of Kabini’s black leopard.  Pictures from Kabini suggest that the melanistic leopard there  is almost 100 %  black.”  Many visitors attempt night safaris , which were started  in a restricted  manner in 2021-  on the full moon or new moon nights in the jungle.  Those who succeeded in Kabini sanctuary also refer to it as “Ghost of the Jungle” .  “Its fiery - floating eyes stare at you as its body  merges completely with the  darkness of the jungle night”.

Credits in Pictures 


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