Bhubaneswar: A black panther was spotted for the first time in a forest in Sundargarh district of Odisha.
The photographic evidence of the presence of the Black Panther also known as melanistic leopard came from Hemgir Forest Range under Sundargarh forest division.
“Black Panther is a color variant of Indian leopard in India and the footage of the animal has been captured repeatedly by the camera installed in Garjanpahad Reserve Forest of Hemgir Range of Sundargarh Forest Division to track the movement of wild animals,” said Dr Sandeep Tripathi, IFS, PCCF (WL) & CWLW, Odisha.
The panther, which looks completely dark, was caught on camera while roaming in the forest.
The camera traps were deployed under the guidance of Sundargarh DFO Arjun Kumar Mishra by PCCF (Wildlife) and CWLW researchers Bhakta Rath and Nimain Palei since December 2015.
“It is as shy as normal leopard and very difficult to detect. It is mostly found in dense forests of southern India,” an official release said.
The Melanistic leopards are also found in eight other states, Kerala, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Now, Odisha is the ninth State where a black panther has been reported in a forest.
Notably, Odisha is the only State to have Melanistic tigers (with thick and darker stripes), which are rarely found in the world, both in the wild and in the zoo. A Melanistic tiger was first reported in the Similipal forest in the year 1993. The first photographic evidence about presence of the Melanistic tiger was captured in 2007.