In rare sighting, two black leopards spotted in Odisha forests
The images of the leopards were captured in camera traps installed in the forest areas for tiger census.
Odisha forest officials spotted two black leopards or melanistic leopards in two separate jungle locations through camera traps installed for the ongoing tiger census, a senior official said.
The images of the leopards were captured in camera traps installed in the forest areas for tiger census, principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF), wildlife, Susanta Nanda told PTI on Thursday.
"Two melanistic leopards, a male and a female, were spotted in two different forest areas of our state during the census. This not unnatural. Earlier, too, such melanistic leopards were seen in the state…this is a natural phenomena," Nanda said.
Nanda said the leopards took birth with such black colour due to genetic mutations and excess secretion of pigments.
"We will analyse the presence of such leopards and tigers using artificial intelligence to avoid duplicity," Nanda said.
He added that the exact number of such wild animals can be known only after the completion of the ongoing tiger census on January 15.
On Wednesday, Nanda had informed about the sighting of the black leopards on X and shared two images of the animals.
"Ongoing camera trap tiger census in Odisha is throwing up some exciting and unexpected presence of wild fauna in our state," he posted on X.
Earlier, such leopards were seen in the Daspalla forest area in Nayagarh district and Badampahar area in Sundergarh district. A melanistic tiger is located in Similipal Tiger Reserve in Mayurbhanj district.