Image Credit: Twitter/ Susanta Nanda

Mysterious Black Leopard Stuns Conservationists in Odisha’s Hidden Forests

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In a remarkable discovery during the ongoing tiger census in Odisha, an exceedingly rare black leopard has been spotted in a forest, adding an unexpected twist to the conservation efforts in the state. The elusive big cat’s images were captured by a camera trap set up for the tiger census, providing a glimpse into the diverse and mysterious wildlife dwelling in the region.

Susanta Nanda, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) for wildlife in Odisha, unveiled the captivating images of the black leopard on X. However, the specific location was intentionally kept undisclosed to ensure the safety and protection of this rare and magnificent creature.

“Ongoing camera trap tiger census in Odisha is throwing up some exciting & unexpected presence of wild fauna in our state,” Mr. Nanda shared on X, hinting at the surprises nature has in store for conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts alike.

This recent sighting follows a previous extraordinary encounter in Similipal National Park, located in Mayurbhanj district, where a black tiger, also known as a pseudo-melanistic tiger, was spotted. These occurrences shed light on the rich biodiversity of Odisha and emphasize the importance of comprehensive wildlife conservation efforts.

The black leopard, with its sleek and melanistic coat, adds a touch of mystery to the already diverse wildlife population in the region. Melanism is a genetic variation that leads to an excess of dark pigmentation, resulting in a striking all-black appearance in these majestic felines.

The tiger census, initially focused on assessing the population and habitats of tigers, has become a platform for discovering the broader spectrum of wildlife coexisting in Odisha’s forests. The use of camera traps has proven instrumental in capturing these rare moments, providing valuable data for wildlife researchers and conservationists.

While the census primarily aims to monitor and conserve tiger populations, these unexpected sightings underscore the need for holistic conservation strategies that encompass the entire ecosystem. Protecting the habitats of not only tigers but also other elusive and rare species is crucial for maintaining the delicate balance of the region’s ecology.

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