Leopards of India’s Silicon City

(Image courtesy of Sanjay Gubbi)

Post submitted by Sanjay Gubbi, Scientist Nature Conservation Foundation.

Bangalore, a southern Indian city, has become synonymous with information technology and is one of a few metropolis in the world that hosts large wild mammals such as elephants, leopards, sloth bears and even tigers within a distance of a few kilometers from the center of the city. Among them, two species make headlines, quite often – the elephant and the leopard.

Part of the city outskirts, where rural life continues to linger despite the contrasting glitzy city reports, livestock lifting by leopards are common. Occasionally, the residents of apartment complexes in the southern side of the city report leopard sightings. When such incidents are reported, the response is a demand to relocate (translocation) the leopards. In the past five years the forest department, due to various pressures, has captured six leopards from the city outskirts, relocating four of them to various other locations.

Concerned about the leopard conflict and captures, I started monitoring the presence of leopards and conflict incidences around the country’s IT capital. From time to time we camera-trapped the areas where there were requests from local residents who were afraid of leopards lurking in their area and the government.

Camera-trapping gives us wonderful insights into the lives of these spotted cats. Many times when we install these automatically triggered photo-documenting devices, leopards were captured walking past our camera traps. At times, the sequence of images was more interesting. At one location we had citizens walking past our camera traps on their evening walks. A few hours later, young spotted cats walked past the same camera traps taking their own images with bright-lit garden lights as their backdrop. In some locations, young school children walked by displaying their playful performances for the cameras, and a few hours later —> Read More