India’s first leopard reserve offers lessons in coexistence, conservation

Source: Business Standard

Relevance: Ecosystem conservation via community participation.

Synopsis: Communities have long co-existed with leopards in Jhalana (Rajasthan) which is India’s first leopard reserve declared in 2016.

Benefits of leopard conservation
  • Stray dog population is kept under check
  • Forest acts as a temperature and pollutant sink
  • Leopards scavenge carcasses of cattle that villagers would otherwise find difficult to dispose
Issues
  • Human-wildlife conflict: Increase in leopard population along with decline in prey population could lead to human-wildlife conflict
  • Accidental deaths: Forests cut off by state and national highways is leading to accidental deaths of leopards
  • Inbreeding among the leopards
Conclusion

Developing viable animal corridors is the only solution to address all these issues.

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