Mumbai: Third leopard radio-collared and released in Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Dipti SinghUpdated: Sunday, January 16, 2022, 08:23 AM IST
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A leopard named Kranti has become the third to be fitted with a radio collar at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) after Savitri, 3, and Maharaj, 6. The 6-year-old feline was radiocollared and released into the wild on Friday, informed officials of SGNP.

"This is part of the first phase of the leopard radio-collaring project being carried out at SGNP to track and understand the animal's movement," said SGNP director G Mallikarjuna. A total of five leopards will be radio-collared in the first phase. "We are expecting interesting data on human-leopard interactions through this collared animal. Two more leopards will be radio-collared in the coming days," said Mallikarjuna.

The project was first initiated in 2018 when park authorities signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Wildlife Conservation Society – India (WCS). The Maharashtra government then approved the project in August 2019 and the two-year project was to be completed in 2021.

However, the project got stuck in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The work finally resumed in February 2021. Wildlife biologist Dr Vidya Athreya from WCS, who is leading this collaborative project with the SGNP, said, leopards are extremely secretive animals, which is the reason why very little is known about them.

To date, the forest department in SGNP and the Thane Forest Division have been regularly monitoring the leopards using camera traps. Savitri became the first leopard in Mumbai to be radio-collared, named after the social reformer and educationist Savitribai Phule.

The second leopard that was radio-collared had been named Maharaj after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The two leopards were radio-collared in February last year.

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