Koraput (Odisha) | Though the recent tiger census in Jeypore forest division drew a blank, the team spotted at least five leopards, a jump of four since last headcount in 2013-14, bringing cheer to wildlife enthusiasts.
Two leopards were spotted near Bichalkota under Jeypore forest range and three at Boipariguda forest range, officials said after the six-day census which began on February 5. To capture pug marks of animals, pressure impression pads were put up at several places.
These were sent to the office of principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), which confirmed presence of five leopards, two among them female, in the forest division, said DFO (Jeypore) A K Kar. He didn’t rule out presence of more leopards in the forests under the division.
To track the movement of animals, the department has decided to install 10 camera traps in areas frequented by them and near waterholes. We have identified some areas in Jeypore and Borigumma forest ranges, where these cameras will be installed.
They will also help confirm presence of more leopards in the forest division, the DFO said. Spread over 1,199 sq km, the forest division comprises Jeypore, Boipariguda, Kundura, Kotpad, Borigumma and Gupteswar forest ranges and shares borders with forests in Chhattisgarh.
Forest officials attributed the absence of tigers in the division to non-availability of undisturbed core forest area. Tigers were never spotted in the forest division as it has no area undisturbed by human activities, the DFO said.
Villagers, residing close to these forests, have been warned against entering leopard-inhabited areas. They have been asked to remain alert, said forest range officer, Boipariguda, Uma Mahesh. Two leopards, a male and a female, were spotted in Koraput forest division during the census, officials said.
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