Forest department sets up cameras to capture black panther

Updated: Jul 15, 2020, 07:37 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Kondivare villagers in Sangmeshwar taluka spot the elusive black cat loitering around in a forested patch near the village

Screenshot of the viral video
Screenshot of the viral video

Soon after a video of a rare black panther roaming around in Ratnagiri district of Konkan went viral on social media, the Forest Department installed camera traps to get pictures of the elusive big cat.

Locals from of Kondivare village in Sangmeshwar Taluka, Ratnagiri spotted the majestic black beauty near a forested patch close to the village a few days back. Making most of the opportunity, one of the villagers shot the video of the leopard which in no time went viral on social media, thereby evoking response from several wildlife lovers.

The black panther which was rescued from a well in Ratnagiri
The black panther which was rescued from a well in Ratnagiri

The Forest Department taking note of the video has now installed cameras in the area to get pictures of the big black cat. Talking to mid-day, V Clement Ben, chief conservator of forest, Kolhapur said, "We have positioned two camera traps in Kondivare village to get pictures of the melanistic leopard spotted in the area."

A few locals of the region also told mid-day that sightings of black leopard have been taking place for several years now. In 2013 a few villagers had informed the Forest Department about spotting a black panther, but their claims were not taken seriously, as they did not have any photographic evidence. The last time a black panther was spotted in this area along with photographic evidence was back in December 2013, after the residents of Oni village near Rajapur in Ratnagiri district found the animal trapped in a well. It was rescued by the officials.

Speaking to mid-day, Hitendra Pachkale, from Sangmeshwar said, "There have been people from villages in Ratnagiri who claimed to spot a panther in the last six-seven years. But the villagers couldn't click any photos of this elusive cat. It's a good thing the Forest Department has begun camera trapping in the area. Many years ago, a black panther was rescued by the Forest Department after it fell into a well in Ratnagiri."

What are black panthers?
Melanistic leopards are commonly called black panthers or black leopards. They are found in the forests of the Western Ghats and north-east India and are black in colour due to the presence of excess melanin in their bodies. The colour of their fur is a mixture of blue, black, grey, and purple.

2013
Year in which black panther was spotted in Konkan

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