Black panther spotted in Odisha forest

KalingaTV News Network

Bhubaneswar: In what could make the wildlife lovers happy, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Sandeep Tripathy on Monday informed that a black panther has been spotted and caught on camera in Odisha for the first time in almost after two decades.

“The footage of the black panther or melanistic leopard, which looks completely dark, was captured repeatedly by the camera installed in Garjanpahad Reserve Forest of Hemagiri range of Sundergarh forest division,” said Tripathi while speaking to the reporters here.

After learning the presence of the black panther in the forest, PCCF (wildlife) and CWLW researchers Bhakta Rath and Nimain Palei under the guidance of Sundergarh DFO Arjun Kumar Mishra had put the camera trap in place since December 2015.

Though people claimed to have seen the panthers in one of the Phulbani forests, there were no photographic evidences to prove the same.

A black panther is a melanistic color variant of the species and found in eight other states of the country namely Kerala, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

It is worthwhile to mention here that, Odisha is the only state to have Melanistic tigers (with thick and darker stripes), which are rarely found in the world, both in the wild and in the zoo.

The Melanistic tiger was first reported in Similipal National Park in the year 1993. However, the first photographic evidence about presence of the Melanistic tiger was captured in 2007.

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