With the quality of the forest degrading and the human encroachments in the forested habitat growing, the intraspecific competition between leopards and inter-specific conflicts between humans and leopards are bound to intensify. In the past, sightings of leopards near human settlements have resulted in fear and unrest among the people, resulting in conflict situations that often escalate. The researchers predict that this positive change in media attitude could have been influenced by increased interactions between conservation scientists and media professionals. Earlier, leopards that were caught in Mumbai were freed in the forests outside the city. Khanolkar, a native of Mumbai, began photographing urban leopards after one of the big cats killed a seven-year-old in 2013. The leopards in Mumbai may have beneficial impact to the people of city, according to a recent study. Don’t tease it, don’t disturb it and it won’t attack you.”, Jadhav knows that leopards have roamed the area for generations and doesn’t think the creatures will disappear anytime soon. Sterilization is the acceptable method of stray population control in the country. More will simply move in, to fill the space. It could also be the factor that has permitted one of the world's most densely populated cities, Mumbai, to host a biodiverse national park, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), within its municipal boundaries. Show all posts. It was never left alone. The leopards will visit Mumbai again and again because this is where they live,” he says. We examined the services provided by leopards (Panthera pardus) to the residents of Mumbai, India, one of the world's largest cities. What could be the possible reason? The fact that the Sanjay Gandhi National Park is alive within the administrative limits of one of the densest metropolises on Earth, is in itself a credible thing," mentioned Dr. Andheria, with a note of optimism. The leopards of Mumbai suffered a crisis in the early 2000s. He also suggests that the eco-ethnic identity of the tribal population of SGNP be recognized and their role in maintaining the national park be rewarded with PES. What is more astonishing is that despite urbanization weighing down on SGNP, the leopard population in the park is remarkably stable. Leopards in Mumbai, yes Mumbai Saw this article today about video of a dog being attacked by a leopard in Mumbai . In fact, the policy of trans-locating leopards to other forests has enhanced the leopard-human conflicts. Illegal settlements - including nagars (settlements by non-indigenous people), padas (tribal settlements) and high-rise buildings - continue to swell in and around the park. Several of them have borne fruit, others have been limited to paperwork. It can influence the public to dread leopards or adore them. The entire bustling ecosystem makes Mumbai not only a cosmopolitan but also a "biodiverse metropolis.". Therefore, no single solution can fetch the desired result. The adivasis [ethnic and tribal groups of India] have always lived with them and see the animal as part of their cultural identity.”. “All attacks on humans have happened in [slum] areas, except one in Powai.” In settlements that lack toilets or electricity, 80% of the leopard attacks happen when people go out to answer nature’s call after dark. If they are compensated for the restrictions imposed on them, they will be encouraged to keep the wild habitat safe, and will not be antagonistic to the activities of the forest department. The findings of the study bring some good news for Mumbai's leopards. 'Killing the leopards or translocating won't protect people from attacks. Two artificial lakes, the Vihar and Tulsi, were built by the British by damming the River Tasso to supply water to the flourishing city of Mumbai, then Bombay. It was a mind-boggling question until Dr. Athreya's research came to the rescue. The incident took place on Tuesday. The authorities thought the park would be a haven for leopards, but instead the relocated cats were forced to fight for territory and food. The Sanjay Gandhi National Park, formerly known as Borivali National Park, is located in the northern part of Mumbai and apart from leopards is home to several diverse species like the Spotted Deer, Black Naped Hare, Barking Deer, Porcupine, Palm Civet, Small Indian Civet, Mouse Deer, Rhesus Macaque, Bounet Macaque, Hanuman Langur, Indian Flying Fox, Ruddy Mongoose, Sambhar and more than 40 … With the real estate boom captivating Mumbai, tall skyscrapers have come up at the park's peripheries, polluting the natural skyline. Mumbai: Panic gripped Aarey Milk Colony in Maharashtra capital Mumbai after a leopard cub lost its way and entered a cattle barn in the colony. According to the study, these leopards are defending Mumbaikars from the fatal disease rabies by eliminating the dogs. He added tin sheets to the roof and walls to make it difficult for leopards to climb. Six leopards have been rescued from Mumbai Metropolitan Region since 2017 and dozens have strayed into human habitats. The leopard climbed the wall of an abandoned warehouse, was spotted by the watchman. While hunting for food, they venture into human habitats and attacks like these takes place." Proper management of garbage disposal in and around SGNP. Steve Winter/National Geographic, Author provided. A three-to-four-year old female leopard identified as L98 was found grievously injured in a road accident on the Western Express Highway (WEH) … When leopards stray into a city, people often fear them because of the danger they pose. Perhaps no other national park on our planet is "more urban" than the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) of Mumbai, India's financial capital, and home to an estimated 20 million people in the metropolis. “If you got to rural India, people know leopards have always been around. The media also grabs the attention of decision-makers and interest groups towards conservation matters. In Mumbai, easy availability of prey like stray dogs has ensured that leopards have adapted to surviving outside the park as well. Studies conducted to estimate this population have furnished hope. However, a big cat attack on humans, an extremely unusual event, always makes it to the headlines. It mentions that neutral headlines associated with human-leopard interaction in Mumbai have increased over the years. It means that the forest department has managed to protect the park despite the excessive burden of urbanization on it. National Geographic explains that the uncommon nature of the incident and the fact that it triggers something primitive in the human psyche are responsible for this uproar. “It is really their home.”, This article was commissioned as part of the Guardian’s Citizen Reporting Programme, Available for everyone, funded by readers. Removal of human encroachments from SGNP, 5. Interestingly, unlike the British colonial rulers who associated predators with the terms "man-eating" and "cattle-killing," Indians had for centuries worshipped the big cats as deities. Yet, since November 2011 there have been six fatalities; the last three deaths were all reported in Aarey Milk Colony, to the south of the SGNP. Sometimes tagged as "man-eaters" and at other times regarded as "protectors," the media has portrayed the leopards of SGNP in a range of characters. The media has tremendous power. How people living around the park deal with the presence of these animals will determine the future for the big cats. Over the last several months, the media has been abuzz with reports and CCTV grabs of leopards appearing in Mumbai; peeping over apartment walls, picking up sleeping dogs in building lobbies, crossing wide highways and the recent BBC Planet Earth series’ crisp thermal camera footage throwing light on their elusive life in close proximity to humans. On average, dogs make up about 40 per cent of a Mumbai leopard's diet. Mumbai : City of Dreams and Leopards. As such, conservation biologists and park managers have brainstormed several potential solutions to ensure SGNP's survival. Athreya feels that Mumbai can be a model for collaborative efforts by citizens, NGOs and government to deal with leopards sensitively. They even try to appease them with sacrificial offerings to prevent attacks on the human population. The Sanjay Gandhi national park (SGNP) spans 104 sq km - the size of 30 Central Parks - and is home to more than 1,000 species of plants and animals. Human habitations both inside and along the periphery of this relatively small forest, supports a large population of feral or free-ranging dogs and livestock. The locals rushed to the buffalo shelter they spotted the big cat. The video shows a leopard laying an ambush … “Highly territorial animals who were displaced and had to find food in an unfamiliar place.”. During this period, leopards rescued from other parts of Maharashtra state were being released in the SGNP. However, the story of Mumbai's leopards does not end here in a happily ever after. “If you are in a building there’s no need to worry,” he says. The incident reportedly took place near SEEPZ in Andheri (East), Mumbai where the attack was captured on CCTV. Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) is said to be the lungs of Mumbai and provides the bustling metropolis with clean drinking water among other ecosystem services. Now, instead of portraying leopards as villains, media channels prefer to use more unbiased terms when describing incidents of confrontations between humans and leopards in Mumbai. It must be noted that although the leopard might be its star resident, SGNP also protects around 40 mammalian species, over 50 reptilian and amphibian species, 150 butterfly species, over 254 species of resident and migratory birds, among others. In recent years, complaints of leopard attacks have surfaced once again. And despite a human population density of around 20,000 people per sq km at the periphery of SGNP, the leopards thrive. Mr. The level of evidence-based reporting is also low in all cases other than episodic, event-driven articles. The urban leopards of Aarey Colony have built a home there. The green heartland of the forest was also the site of Buddhist learning and pilgrimage. The tolerance of Indians for dogs has sustained a massive population of "stray" dogs almost in every nook and cranny of this vast nation. Meanwhile, just down the road, 35-year-old Dilip Changverlekar recently renovated the house where his family has lived for generations. Interestingly, a 2018 study from the Ecological Society of America manages to put India's leopards in a heroic role in the tripartite relationship of Mumbai's humans-dogs-leopards. "There is a need to recognize that the people living along the boundaries of the forest have a role to play in protecting it," he mentioned. 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