Black leopard sighted in Odisha forest

Bhubaneswar: A black leopard has been sighted in a forest in Odisha during the ongoing tiger census in the state.

This was revealed by Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Susanta Nanda today. However, the PCCF did not disclose anything regarding the forest in which the black or melanistic leopard has been spotted.

“We have installed camera traps at several forests in Odisha as part of the tiger census programme in the state. The exercise will continue till January 15 next year. The black leopard was captured in the camera tarps,” said the PCCF.

There is nothing unusual in the sighting of black or melanistic leopard in Odisha. The hide of the leopard has turned black due to excess pigmentation, he added.

“This is not the first case in Odisha. Black or melanistic leopards have been sighted in the state since last 50 years. We have records that revealed that black tigers had been spotted in Ganjam district during the British rule,” revealed the PCCF.

The top official also made it clear that there is no guarantee that the offspring of a black or melanistic tiger or leopard would have black hide.

“The black leopard or tiger may face several challenges to its survivals. It may face difficulty in roaming under the scorching sun and the black coloured hide may attract mosquitoes and other insects to the leopard,” he added.

Notably, a black panther had been sighted in Garjanpahad reserve forest in Odisha’s Sundargarh district in 2018.

Besides, Similipal tiger reserve in Odisha is well-known for its melanistic or black tiger population. A melanistic tiger was first spotted in Similipal in 1993, sources said.

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