Uttarakhand to conduct leopard population estimation from December
The last such estimation was done in 2008; the forest department has started identifying grids where leopards are usually found after which camera traps are likely to be placedUpdated: Oct 19, 2020, 16:13 IST
After a gap of 12 years, Uttarakhand forest department is gearing up to conduct an estimation of the leopard population in the state beginning this December.
The state forest department has started identifying grids where leopards are usually found after which camera traps are likely to be placed.
Uttarakhand forest department chief wildlife warden JS Suhag said, “Till now, estimation of leopards has taken place in the state in tiger landscapes as it was done along with tiger estimation. But now, we are working to conduct a state-wide estimation of leopard population as they are found almost everywhere in the state.”
“We are identifying grids where leopards are found, after which we will decide whether to deploy camera traps or to follow some other strategy for the process. Given the topography of Uttarakhand, camera trapping will be a problem for us as leopards are found in hilly regions, and also near human habitations,” added Suhag.
He added that the state forest department will carry out the project along with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
The last state0wide estimation of the leopard population was done in 2008 when the state reported 2,335 leopards. In 2014, WII had conducted an estimation for leopards in tiger landscapes (along with tiger estimation), when the state had reported over 700 leopards, said Suhag.
“Leopards in the state have adapted themselves and can live near human habitations. Once we know the grids where there is heavy leopard presence, we can formulate policies according to the area to reduce conflict,” added the senior forest official.
Meanwhile, 15 leopards are being radio-collared, predominantly Rajaji Tiger Reserve area, to study the nature of leopard, the areas its moves around, how much time it spends in what type of an area, around what time it moves and the habitat that the animal prefers.
In the last week of September, a leopard which strayed in human settlements was captured and radio-collared at the Chidiyapur rescue centre in Haridwar district. It was monitored for around 10-12 hours before being released in the wild.