Kathmandu, July 29
Though a dead leopard was found in Jorpati area of Kathmandu two months ago, no other incident of live leopard sighting was recorded in Kathmandu Valley in the last 10 months.
Concerned authorities and experts attributed this development to the monsoon season. They said this might be also because prey species have increased or people were too busy planting rice to notice leopards in their surroundings.
According to District Forest Office, Kathmandu, a live leopard was last sighted in Matatirtha of Thankot in August 2016. The leopard was killed by the locals. “Since then no live leopard has been sighted in Valley,” District Forest Officer Dr Indra Prasad Sapkota told THT, adding, “It may be the result of increase in the population of prey species in the forests of Kathmandu and adjoining areas.”
He said the leopards mainly entered into human settlements due to increase in their population, decrease in the population of prey species and increase in dog population in the area.
Last year, a leopard entered a house in Kuleshwor in June and another leopard was sighted in Matatirtha in August. Likewise, a female leopard gave birth to three cubs in Bhaktapur in September. According to the Central Zoo, Jawalakhel, altogether five such incidents were reported on September 9 in 2016.
Assistant Curator of the central zoo Ganesh Koirala said the zoo office had not received any complaint of leopard sighting in Kathmandu Valley for more than six months. Kathmandu residents had witnessed six incidents of leopards entering human settlements in the fiscal 2015/16. Only two months into the fiscal 2016/17, six more similar incidents were reported in the Valley.
Wildlife expert Dr Mukesh Kumar Chalise said the monsoon rains could be the reason for no incidents of leopard sightings in city areas.
A version of this article appears in print on July 30, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.