Delhi: Leopard spotted in Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary | Latest Delhi News

There was a new sighting of a leopard at Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary by a forest patrol late on Saturday evening, officials said.

“The leopard was filmed by a patrol team. We believe that three to four leopards currently live inside the sanctuary. frequent over the past two or three years,” said a forester on condition of anonymity.

The increased frequency of leopard sightings is an indication that conservation efforts are paying off, experts said.

Several images of leopards were also captured on camera traps last year, following the launch of a mammal census at the sanctuary in March 2021. The census, carried out by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) in collaboration with the state forest department, captured 16 other mammals on camera traps, including striped hyena, hog deer, black deer and spotted deer.

Habitat improvement and reduced human interference are likely reasons for the leopard’s signature, a second forest officer said. “Broken perimeter walls have been repaired and the planting of native shrubs, grasses and trees is attracting more herbivores,” he said, declining to be named.

“More water points have been created and specific planting is underway, especially in degraded areas where people used to frequent earlier. The perimeter walls through which cars and bicycles entered the sanctuary were fixed, which also reduced the human footprint inside, allowing herbivores to thrive. It ultimately attracts top predators,” the official said.

The ongoing survey has revealed the presence of at least two leopards, and more are expected to be present or enter the sanctuary frequently, according to Sohail Madan, director of the center at BNHS.

“At least two different leopards were captured on the camera traps and a combination of rejuvenation efforts and reducing the human footprint inside helped create a more stable ecosystem for the leopards,” Madan said, adding that there could be up to five leopards in the sanctuary.

Delhi is no stranger to leopard sightings as the animal often ventures into the capital through the Aravallis. The South, Central and North Delhi Ridges are also extensions of the Aravalli Landscape, with the South Ridge proving to be the most common place to see leopards.

Last year, a leopard was recorded on CCTV cameras in the Najafgarh area, southwest of Delhi, not far from the southern ridge, while in 2019, a leopard was sighted in the park of biodiversity of Tilpath Valley, which is also part of the Aravalli.

Several marks and sightings of pugs have been made at Asola since 2015, with sanctuary officials saying sightings are becoming more frequent. “It could be due to reduced human interference and enrichment of the habitat here,” Madan said.

In December 2016, the northern part of Delhi also recorded a leopard sighting, which apparently entered the capital along the Yamuna floodplains and reached the Yamuna Biodiversity Park in Wazirabad.

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