Nepal | March 30, 2020

Common leopard count in limbo


Kathmandu, August 1

When two incidents of common leopards entering city areas of Kathmandu Valley were recorded in May of 2012, the concerned government agencies pointed out the need of a nationwide leopard count and implementation of resolution plans.

But almost four years have passed and no attempt has been made to do the needful task.

According to the Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation, despite the necessity of a census of common leopards, the conservation department is yet to start any step in this regard.

Deputy Director General at the department Maheshwor Dhakal said that several cases of human-leopard conflicts have been recorded throughout the country that prodded the department to conduct a nationwide leopard census and conflict measurement, but no plan has been prepared.

“Though a nationwide census of common leopards is necessary, the government has no specific plan and programme,” Dr Dhakal told The Himalayan times. He said no separate census has been conducted by the department, so there is no data on the number of common leopards in the country.

The common leopard is not a protected animal in Nepal. Among the big cats family, the common leopard is the most adaptive species and can move and remain active both day and night. The common leopard can cover at least 40 kilometres in a night. But lack of census and detailed study on this animal has meant that much about the common leopard remains unknown.

Chief Conservation Officer at Shivapuri-Nagarjun National Park Kamal Jung Kunbar said the park has a plan to conduct a census of leopards in the park. “We have made a plan to conduct a census of leopards with a proposed budget; if the plan is accepted by the ministry, we will carry out a census in the park this year,” he said.

Though the government, NGOs, and other organisations have not conducted any census of common leopards, wildlife expert Mukesh Kumar Chalise has conducted a count of common leopards in the Shivapuri-Nagarjun Jungle in 2014, and 2015 respectively. According to his count, there were seven leopards in the jungle. “Seven leopards were recorded in the Shivapuri-Nagarjun area in a count conducted through 22 camera trappings,” Chalise said.

Chalise said the lack of any census or detailed studies on leopards have increased incidences of the big cats entering city areas.

A version of this article appears in print on August 02, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

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