The researchers utilized camera traps to observe leopards in areas with high human populations.
Science Recorder | James Fluere | Saturday, March 30, 2013
Researchers have discovered that leopards and humans peacefully coexist in certain areas of India. According to a news release from the Wildlife Conservation Society, a team of researchers led by WCS-India scientist Vidya Athreaya discovered as many as five large carnivores, including leopards and striped hyenas, per 100 square kilometers. This is the first time that this density has been reported in a landscape dominated by humans.
The researchers utilized camera traps to observe leopards in areas devoid of wilderness. They discovered that leopards often moved close to houses at night though remained mostly undetected by humans. While leopards have attacked and killed people in the past, there are few examples of attacks in the study region.
According to Ullas Karanth of WCS, human attacks by these big cats were exceedingly rare even though humans deaths were reported in adjoining areas.
“The results of our work push the frontiers of our understanding of the adaptability of both humans and wildlife to each other’s presence,” said Karanth.
The researchers argue that their discovery suggests that conservationists need to look beyond protected areas for a better approach to protecting wildlife in a variety of areas.
According to National Geographic, leopards are closely related to lions, tigers and jaguars. These big cats reside in sub-Saharan Africa, northeast Africa, Central Asia, India and China. Leopards are extremely strong and often haul their kills into the trees to keep them safe from scavengers such as hyenas.
The study’s findings are described in detail in the journal PLoS One.
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