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Leopards revel in Siswan`s nights

The Times of India
New Delhi
14 Jun 2017

Comprehensive capture of the faunal diversity of the Siswan-Mirzapur belt using 35 day and night camera traps has established the presence of at least three leopards attended by a rich prey base in the form of sambars, wild boars, barking deer (Red muntjac), peacocks etc.

The first-ever study using camera traps at Siswan was conducted by the Punjab forest and wildlife preservation department in conjunction with a team from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun`s department of eco-development planning and participatory management led by its head, Dr Anil K Bhardwaj. "The camera traps were placed last month across the Siswan-Mirzapur belt, along ridgelines, water, forests etc. Thousands of images have been yielded by the cameras, during day and night.

The images establish the presence of at least three leopards, and there could be more than that. Images also show instances where people are passing on the same trail, a few minutes after the leopard. That shows leopards are living in harmony with human presence and apart from some instances of livestock depredation, there have been no attacks on people. The camera traps revealed an overwhelming abundance of sambars, boars etc," Punjab chief wildlife warden Dhirendra K Singh told TOI.

The Siswan dam lies in the tricity`s hinterland and straddles the key road link from Chandigarh to the industrial township of Baddi (Himachal Pradesh). It has also been eyed as a source of water to replenish the drying Sukhna lake. Apart from affording a perennial source of water for the wildlife and irrigation for the dry, sub-montane Kandi belt, the Siswan jungles are virtually impenetrable and possess both depth and width, an essential requirement for leopards to co-exist in harmony.