Planning a systematic documentation of Indian Leopards and conflict issues

#16 Dec 7th, 2011, 14:42
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#16
A fascinating post Paleface.
I request you to continue posting reports of your encounters here on the forum as and when you have an update. The points you discuss are common in every urban landscape where there are leopards. Where exactly are your reporting this from? Are there dense jungles around you ? Any incidences of Tigers in those jungles ?

I am just back from a 1500km road trip which I undertook to investigate reports of black Panther sightings in some locations in central India. I covered Melghat and was supposed to go to Satpura and then to Chhindwara to the Tamini ghats. But I ended up spending all my time in Melghat after getting some very good leads and by the end of the trip was successful in documenting 3 tigers and 1/2 a leopard apart from a fleeting glance of caracal (!!!!) at Melghat. I will go back to MTR very soon for continued explorations.

I have been getting lucky with leopards oflate and I attribute the same to the fact that I have been more systematic in their search than before.

Here's presenting the bold 'ol male Leopard of the Kose Canal road in TATR whom we tracked very patiently and who taught me how to drive around Leopards apart from testing the limits of my reverse driving skills.

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Stay tuned and keep on reporting.

regards,
Dr. A Ghosh
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#17 Dec 8th, 2011, 02:31
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#17
Ooh Yes Dr.Ghosh, what a big boy he is. Out of interest are the Tamini ghats around Patalkot, with those wonderful deep ravines and savannah like plateaus on top... lovely country.

We are 7kms or so by road from Uttarkashi town in Uttarakhand. Ele: 1620M. Reserved forests above and around, good tree cover on the whole but monocultural as a result of the stupid policy of the Forest deptt. over the past decades of planting only Chir (pine) for turpentine harvesting... So not dense foliaged mixed jungles by any stretch. The whole ecosystem has been reduced to non-diversity because what thrives in pine forests? except the monkeys and flying squirrels who get at the pine nuts.

There are Kashmiri wood cutters staying down in a chaan (cattle shelter) just below us. It always fools me, like this evening. Maybe 6.15 only, dark already and i was returning with the 4 dogs and heard wood cutting, thinking what are those guys up to sawing at this time. Aah, of course it was Leopard down in the ravine but with an uphill breeze it felt very close and all our hackles rose and the dogs got nervous and were keen to get home.

You know that bulls are left free to wander and are not cared for as such, except twice a year when the fields need to be ploughed. These bulls do tend to roam in a group, like a dozen animals that i always see on or about the road when i go down the hill in the car. They are absolutely likely to be well aware of Leopard and of themselves being a good few meals for Leopard. I am sure the bulls provide the Leopard with the last resort of food when the hunting of game has been difficult, one sees the carcasses. Bulls are probably the easiest of semi domesticated animals to stalk for the Leopard, and don't pose much of a killing problem though i wouldn't know how the Leopard deals with a pack and if it would attack into a group. Leopard probably spends a good deal of time waiting until a bull is separated from the group.

No incidences of Tigers unfortunately, there use to be of course.
#18 Dec 9th, 2011, 03:31
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#18
abheek, glad to hear that you have had a good trip to Melghat. i must second the other recommendation for Gir. in 4 days we had 3 sightings of leopards and one of them was kind enough to let me get a real classic picture besides.

other than this leoprads are often seen in Ranthambhore as well.

i was in abndipur and mudumalai in august this year and msut say i was not impressed with the way things are run. for a person like you who drives open gypsies in the central indian forest, sitting in a minibus and driving throught he forest with 22 other screaming tourists playing MP3 players will be a harrowing experience. thanksfully (?) the bus ride is only 40 minutes and then you can walk away from them.
after 15 trips on these type of buses, i had good sightings of elephant and bison but virtually zero birding was possible and no luck with cats or Dholes. singularly unfortunate. nobody else saw any either for those 3 days.
#19 Dec 9th, 2011, 03:34
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#19
this is a pic i would like to share and yes "nirvana' would be a black panther in natural habitaton a bright day in the sunlight.
#20 Dec 9th, 2011, 03:35
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#20
here is the pic.Name:  DSC_0133 -.jpg
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#21 Dec 9th, 2011, 22:26
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#21
Quote:
Originally Posted by happyarun View Post here is the pic.Attachment 24204
Excellent image, seems it was last light of the golden hour. Leopard has that relaxed but fully aware look. Some of the spots on the right flank are like pug marks!
#22 Dec 12th, 2011, 16:33
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#22
just came back from Rajaji and had 2 sightings of leopard and 1 more the next day. a ,mating pair had made a kill of a young cow in sight of the park gates on the road. incredibly, as we watched from a safe distance, a group of 5 women approached the kill on foot in the twilight, stood next to the kill and chattered to each other and then left out of the park. this was while there were two leopards in thick bush less than 10 mtrs away. If they had been attacked surely india would be 2 leopards short.
#23 Dec 12th, 2011, 16:48
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#23
@happyarun, finally some luck with sightings. Great. Waiting to see your pictures.

Ronak.
#24 Dec 13th, 2011, 00:41
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#24
Quote:
Originally Posted by happyarun View Post just came back from Rajaji and had 2 sightings of leopard and 1 more the next day. a ,mating pair had made a kill of a young cow in sight of the park gates on the road. incredibly, as we watched from a safe distance, a group of 5 women approached the kill on foot in the twilight, stood next to the kill and chattered to each other and then left out of the park. this was while there were two leopards in thick bush less than 10 mtrs away. If they had been attacked surely india would be 2 leopards short.
Arunji, waiting for trip report and pics, as you have promised in other thread about Rajaji NP
“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” - Paul Theroux
#25 Dec 13th, 2011, 01:03
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#25
hey guys, will be posting trip report but pix leave something to be desired. got no leopard pix. those guys are too fast. birds yes.
#26 Dec 13th, 2011, 12:53
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#26
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Originally Posted by happyarun View Post hey guys, will be posting trip report but pix leave something to be desired. got no leopard pix. those guys are too fast. birds yes.
No problem. At least you have the pictures in your mind. Eager to read your trip report.

Ronak.
#27 Dec 13th, 2011, 17:02
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#27
sure and just got the spiti pix so..... more soon :-)
#28 Dec 17th, 2011, 11:32
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#28
Abheekg: I recently did my first safari at Gir and spotted the leopard twice in a span of 5 days. So I would recommend Gir. As already stated by wind_chariot, the leopard population is reported to be over 400 at Gir.We were lucky enough to spot both a female leopard and a male leopard.Both the times, we spotted a leopard,it was in bright sunlight and we managed a few pictures and a short video. You can refer to my trip report at http://www.indiamike.com/india/india...eview-t153275/ I will be shortly uploading the pictures too.
#29 Dec 17th, 2011, 12:29
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#29
Dear Abheekg,
I recently did my first safari at Gir this December and spotted two leopards in a span of 5 days. As wind_chariot rightly stated, there are recorded about 400 leopards in Gir and so I would also recommend Gir for viewing leopards.
I was lucky enough to view both a male and a female leopard and both the times the sighting was in broad sunlight in the afternoon. The female scooted off as soon as she saw us, but the male was much bolder and actually sat down and looked at us for almost a minute before he got up and walked off. You can read my trip details at http://www.indiamike.com/india/india...eview-t153275/. I will also post pictures soon.
#30 Dec 23rd, 2011, 03:09
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Pine & Deodar forests are often burnt off, especially in summer, so that the carpet of needles on the hillsides is removed (as it’s like walking on ice) and to allow the grass to grow up. This year monsoon began early and summer was a wet one, therefore grass was abundant. The grass is collected as fodder for the cattle by villagers.

The Forest deptt. do most of the burning off in a controlled (so they say) burn, and to pre-empt villagers doing it. It’s illegal for villagers to burn off.

These pics are of a fire started by an arsonist. Out walking the dogs I saw the fire just after being started (left) a couple of ridges away from my house. The pics show the very rapid progression of the fire. I know it was arson as later on when i went round that side i met some Nepali guys who had been trying to put it out. Sad for these fella’s as their job (and therefore income) is reliant upon collecting the gum turpentine of the pines. Turpentine is made from distilling the resinous gum. They stockpile the resin in 25kilo tins as they tap it here and there in the forest. They were out trying to save some stock on this hill but couldn’t get close enough to do anything about it, and we all thought we heard some explosively blowing up. You also hear rocks cracking and mini slides as they are loosened up and roll down the hill.

Of course you wonder what happens to Leopard, Porcupine et al in these fires .

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