Monday, 23 May 2016

Who is snuffing out our rosettes ??

Project Spotted Leopard :

Its Need and Importance

Introduction :

I am a Lover of all 'Leopards' specially spotted leopards who are facing an unprecedented crisis of epidemic proportions as a result of rampant poaching, loss of habitat, loss of fringe forests, buffer zones, and loss of prey upon which they heavily rely.

It is an established fact now in 2016 that spotted leopards are being decimated like nobody's business in India to feed a thriving and illegal market in South - East Asia.

This majestic wild carnivore with its rosettes is a prince among all 'Big Cats' and is also a royal denizen of reserved and unprotected forests in India.

We, in India need to jumpstart ''Project Spotted Leopard''  in a big way and create suitable leopard reserves with immediate effect in the same way as Project Tiger was started in 1973 and Project Elephant in 1992 respectively.

In this respect, it would also be wise to start a foundation  to save leopards at the central level and state level which should be aptly called 'Save the Leopard Foundation' which should be an integral part of Project Spotted Leopard.

The Spotted Indian Leopard and Leopardess who are found in a variety of Indian Jungles are a vital cog in the forest ecosystem found all over India.

Facts about Spotted Leopards :

Spotted Leopards in Forests which stretch from Uttarakhand to Karnataka and from Kerala to Assam and to Orissa in the east help control the burgeoning population of wild boar and Nilgai or Blue Bull which would otherwise lay waste to Potato and other fields of a large number of farmers that are situated not far from unprotected forests.

This would otherwise result in enormous damage to all farmers.

In my humble opinion, spotted leopards found in unprotected forests in India are as regal, as beautiful, as agile, and as intelligent as the Royal Bengal Tiger.

It is sad and distressing that spotted leopards are treated as 'Outcasts' by a large number of Wildlife Lovers specially when this beautiful Big Cat with wondrous rosettes on its golden skin should be given the same protection as the Royal Bengal Tiger in Tiger Reserves all over the country.

The Rosettes on the skin of a spotted leopard distinguish it in a myriad of ways from other Big Cats and makes it regal in more ways than one. It is truly a remarkable big cat that has survived the ravages of time and man and has adapted to humanity in the 21st Century whether it is life near a tribal village or near a town.

Project Spotted Leopard -- A Possible Reality :

Sometime back in August or September 2009, a leading Hindustan Times Correspondent by the name of Brajendra Parashar had stated in an article called 'A Menace called Nilgai' that it was his contention that Nilgai or Blue Bulls were destroying farmers precious fields in Western Uttar Pradesh because of the lack of carnivores to prey on these blue bulls and thus help in controlling their increasing population.

Hence, it would be an excellent idea to jumpstart 'Project Spotted Leopard' in this geographical area as it would be a prey rich habitat for full grown adult leopards who could get sufficient prey for their daily or weekly needs.

I bet there are still a large number of full grown adult leopards left in unprotected forests of Western Uttar Pradesh that can be tranquilised and introduced to this area which is abundant with Blue Bulls.

In my humble opinion, a Leopard Reserve should be immediately started in Western Uttar Pradesh without wasting any more time.

If this experiment proves to be an immense success, it can be replicated in other states in India where wild ungulate herbivores are available in plenty and where fields of farmers are at risk of being destroyed.

Saving the Spotted Indian Leopard is essential :

Leopard Reserves have to be created now as if there is no tomorrow. We need to save the spotted leopard on a 'War Footing' starting from today.

Spotted Leopards have lived in India for more than 1000 years or more. Yet their continued existence is query today because their natural prey has been decimated like young spotted deer, young barking deer, wild pig, etc.

Moreover, Fringe Forests where leopards used to live have been cut down completely and turned into farms or even worse mines.

Conclusion :

Spotted Leopards in Indian Forests are starving today because of Man's Greed. They are confused and have nowhere to go.

Let us extend a helping hand to spotted leopards away from organised poachers and illegal fur traders and help them to live as they are known namely as the 'Prince of Carnivores'.

References and Credits :

1. Thirsty Leopard Cub run over on Highway
     Saturday, Times of India - March 20, 2010.

2. Leopards are new tigers for poachers
    Hindustan Times, Friday June 11, 2010.

3. 69 Leopards die in 8 weeks this year
    Sunday Times of India March 1, 2009.

4. Hunt for Poacher of 6 Leopards in 12 hours
    Times of India Tuesday, January 8, 2008.

5. 27 Leopard Skins seized in 45 days By Avijit Ghosh
    Times of India Friday September 12, 2008.


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