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  Metros   Mumbai  21 May 2017  Forest dept studying leopards in, around SGNP

Forest dept studying leopards in, around SGNP

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : May 21, 2017, 2:23 am IST
Updated : May 21, 2017, 2:23 am IST

he study is being conducted to reduce the chances of a human-animal conflict.

A researcher said leopards are spotted  frequently in Aarey and study of big cat’s mobility pattern is important.
 A researcher said leopards are spotted frequently in Aarey and study of big cat’s mobility pattern is important.

Mumbai: The Forest Department, in order to know the exact locations of leopards in and around Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), and to know their population, is doing a study on the movements of leopards. The study is being done in order to reduce the chances of a human-animal conflict in the area surrounding the SGNP.

While the study is currently being conducted in IIT Bombay and Aarey, the fieldwork will end on June 4 and be concluded by July this year.

This is also being done with an aim to reduce the resources for the animal to feed on.

Niket Surve, a researcher with the Survey of the Wildlife Conservation Society-India, is conducting the study along with the forest department’s volunteers.

The study is in its second phase. The first phase of the study, which concluded in April 2015, was conducted in SGNP.

It was done to know the big cat’s domestic and wild prey and to determine leopards’ food habits. Another important aim of the initial study was to determine the approximate density of leopard population in the SGNP.      

The research team is also monitoring the movement of leopards from SGNP towards Tungareshwar. The current areas of study are SGNP, Aarey milk colony, Bombay Veterinary College and IIT Bombay.

“There have been leopards who are spotted more frequently in Aarey than other places. However they go missing after some days and new leopards are then spotted in those areas. Due to such situations, it has become important to study the mobility pattern of the big cats,” Mr Surve said.

Mr Surve also pointed out that much of resources such as domestic as well as the wild around SGNP have attracted the leopards to wander to various territorial distances, indicating that a place has more than one leopard in the same territory.     

Camera traps are being installed around the park at spots that have reported human-animal conflicts. The camera traps will also help identify individual leopards.

Mr Surve along with his team will hold awareness workshops at IIT Bombay for not only staff members but also students and campus residents so that they understand leopard behaviour and human-animal conflict can be avoided.

Tags: sgnp, iit bombay, forest department, leopard