Increasing leopard movement outside forests in Indore district raises concerns

Increasing leopard movement outside forests in Indore district raises concerns

Indore, Nov 23 (PTI) An increase in the movement of leopards outside forests in Madhya Pradesh's Indore district is giving rise to worries about the toll urbanisation is taking on their natural habitats.

The district is home to around 60 leopards, according to Indore Divisional Forest Officer M S Solanki.

The animals are being spotted with increasing frequency in the military cantonment at Mhow, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus at Simrol and a township adjacent to the Ralamandal sanctuary, he told PTI on Thursday.

A leopard was recently captured in a cage trap set up on the Army War College campus in Mhow, but it succeeded in breaking out, Solanki said.

'The cage was old. We have ordered four new cages now,” he said.

As per the 2019 census, the number of leopards in the Indore forest division is estimated to be around 60, he added.

Madhya Pradesh Wildlife Board member Abhilash Khandekar said it was unfortunate that the rapid urbanisation around Indore has reached the boundaries of the forests, and leopards are being forced to migrate to human settlements due to the destruction of their natural habitats.

'Over the years, the leopard population in Indore's forest areas has increased. The animals often stray into human settlements where they can easily find prey like goats and dogs,” he said.

There is a need to make renewed efforts to save leopards and prevent human-wild animal conflict, Khandekar added. PTI HWP MAS KRK

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