A black leopard has been spotted in a camera trap during a recently in Nawegaon Block of Nawegaon Nagzira Tiger Reserve (NNTR) strecged over Gondia and Bhandara districts in eastern Gondia As per the information, the leopard was a melanistic variant, with excess black pigments, and its sighting is said to be rare.
Speaking on it the conservator of forest and the field director of NNTR R M Ramanujam said, ” NNTR consists of two blocks Nawegaon and Nagzira. It has been recorded in Nawegaon block, not in Nagzira sanctuary (Nagzira block), as it has been widely reported in social media.
After capturing images, data was sent to Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun for analysis. While analysing the census data, WII scientists came across this photo. From social media, it’s learnt that this photo has been shared by Dr Bilal Habib, scientist, WII in his twitter handle.”
NNTR, the widely loved tiger reserve in Gondia and Bhandara districts has its own Bagheera – the black leopard or melanistic leopard, one of the rarest and most elusive leopard species.
The image of the NNTR leopard pair reminds wildlife buffs of the famous leopard pair ‘Saya’ (the black leopard) and ‘Cleo’ (normal leopardess) from Kabini. Saya is very well documented by the famous photographer Shaaz Jung. In previous instances, sightings of the reclusive black leopard have been reported from Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve and Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh.
The intriguing image left many enthusiasts speculating about the likely where abouts of the leopard pair in NNTR’s vast 650 square kilometre sanctuary. Wildlife lovers are upbeat over the sighting of the black leopard, but some felt discouraged due to the closure of the jungle safari due to monsoon.