This year has started quite interesting when it comes to wildlife spotting. Starting form the Snowy owl in Central Park, now an extremely rare black leopard in the Indian wildlife park.
The leopard was spotted in January by photographer Anurag Gawande in Tadoba National Park in western Maharashtra state. He was out there trying to locate a tiger but surprisingly came across this rare animal. It was the second time for the photographer to have seen the leopard, but as he says the trill was exactly the same.
‘I felt the same thrill while watching it but this time I was aware of its moment. We kept our vehicle off and kept enough distance so that it will not move from the spot.’
It wasn’t hard to spot him because of his skin sharply contrasting with the clay red ground where it was walking over. This particular male leopard is the rarest of its kind with its black spots distinctly visible on his shiny coat. They are melanistic, and also known as black panthers. They are quite a rare sight because only 11 percent of their kind have that unique pigmentation, and this is believed to be the only black leopard of Tadoba national park.
As the photographer describes the event, the rare cat was trying to hunt a deer, but failed on his attempt, then sat on the street for 15-20 minutes unbothered, giving the chance for them to get some amazing shots of this unique creature.
Indian leopards are listed as a vulnerable species following habitat loss and poaching. Between 12,000 and 14,000 are believed to live in India.