Uttarakhand’s first radio-collared leopard found crossing Ganga near Haridwar
This leopard found swimming and crossing the Ganga was radio-collared in the last week of September in Haridwar forest division. The chief wildlife warden said that the leopard might have crossed the river in search of prey.Updated: Oct 21, 2020, 00:52 IST
After the Uttarakhand forest department started monitoring leopards via radio-collaring recently, the first radio-collared leopard has been found to be swimming and crossing the Ganga River near Haridwar in the search of prey, which has surprised wildlife officials.
Chief wildlife warden JS Suhag said, “We recently witnessed the first radio-collared leopard swimming and crossing the Ganga River in Haridwar forest division. It was a pleasant surprise for us. By radio-collaring the animal, we want to study the nature of the leopard, the areas it moves around, how much time it spends in what type of area, around what time it moves and habitat that the animal prefers.”
The Uttarakhand forest department has started radio-collaring leopards to study their movement pattern and behaviour. Two leopards have been successfully radio-collared in the state in Haridwar and Narendra Nagar forest divisions since the last week of September.
This leopard found swimming and crossing the Ganga was radio-collared in the last week of September in Haridwar forest division. The chief wildlife warden said that the leopard might have crossed the river in search of prey.
On Tuesday, the chief wildlife warden informed that a second leopard was successfully radio-collared in Tehri Garhwal district.
“Radio collaring of a second leopard was done after examining the health parameters of the animal by a team of the state forest department and Wildlife Institute of India. We checked the functionality of the radio collar took the animal deep inside the jungle in the night around 11:00 pm on Monday and released it. The signals are clear and are being tracked,” said Suhag.
The chief wildlife warden further said that a total of 15 leopards are being radio-collared in different areas of the state, predominantly the Rajaji landscape.
According to Neeraj Sharma, divisional forest officer (DFO) Haridwar division said, “This is the first time we have documented a leopard crossing the Ganga though radio-collaring. We are keeping a target of five leopards each from Haridwar and Dehradun forest divisions and another five from the Rajaji Tiger Reserve for radio-collaring and studying their behaviour. After learning about their movement, we will be able to form better strategies on how to reduce the man-leopard conflict.”
AG Ansari, state-based wildlife expert said that leopards are known to be ace swimmers.
“Leopards are ace swimmers and cross rivers in search of prey. From the Sundarban region, there are records of leopards swimming across water bodies crossing distances of three to five kilometres,” said Ansari.