Leopard makes Yamuna Biodiversity park home in Delhi
NEW DELHI,Nov23: Delhi may be an urban jungle but, amazingly, it still has space for wild predators. A leopard was caught on camera in the capital for the first time on Monday night, that too far away from the place where another spotted cat’s pugmarks were seen last year.
The leopard was clicked at the Yamuna Biodiversity Park (YBP) in north Delhi and officials say it may have become a `resident’ as its pugmarks have been regularly seen for two weeks. The animal was finally captured on camera by scientists and support staff when it was spotted while they were The `Delhi leopard’ is a male installing more surveillance devices. “This is a good sign and we suspect it may have become a resident animal with the habitat here more conducive. From early sightings, it appears to be a male leopard,” said Faiyaz Khudsar, scientist in charge at YBP . Khudsar said officials had placed loose mud traps all over the biodiversity park to find the animal and even made a cast of the pugmark. “The marks confirmed it was a leopard, as did the stride measurement.On Monday night, when we were trying to install more traps, we spotted the animal and it stayed there for close to an hour,” Khudsar said.
Leopard pugmarks were found last year at Asola Wildlife Sanctuary and a spotting was even reported in Usmanpur at the end of December 2015. To capture leopard and hyena sightings, several camera traps were also set up in Bandhwari and Mangar areas near Gurgaon.
Experts say the number of sightings of the leopard at YBP may mean it has decided to stay here for the time being.
“Yamuna Biodiversity Park now has all four trophic levels with the addition of a top carnivore like the leopard. This shows that through DDA’s assistance, the ecosystem here is now is fully func tional and it appears that the animal has become a resident due to the suitable habitat available to it. We suspect a female leopard may also join soon,” said C R Babu, professor emeritus, Delhi University and head of the Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems.
Experts at the park suspect it may have walked down the river plain from Kalesar in Haryana. “Leopards are known to travel as far as 700km. The nearest forest patch from here is Kalesar and it is possible it may have come down the river corridor from there,” said Babu.