Sunday, December 13, 2009

India: Camera trap proves presence of leopard at Chimmini sanctuary

Staff Reporter

KOCHI: Wildlife researchers were in for a pleasant surprise when they started monitoring the wildlife population of the Chimmini Wild Life Sanctuary (CWLS) a fortnight ago.

The camera trap set deep in the forest brought them a few images of a leopard which was strolling majestically in the forest track in the darkness.

Researchers claimed that this was the first photo of a leopard from the sanctuary.

The researchers including Malik Fazil, Bijo Joy, Leonald G Melite, Bhavya Mohan and P. Jayalaksmi are surveying the CWLS as part of the research project of the Kerala Forest Department to document the diversity of mammals. Digital images of wild dogs have also been obtained from the sanctuary.

The study is carried out primarily using camera traps. Whenever a warm-blooded animal crosses the camera's infra red trajectory, a sensor detects the object and the camera opens up. Though the researchers had earlier collected evidence regarding the presence of leopards like pugmarks and scat, no picture could be obtained, they said.

Rich in wildlife

The CWLS, which is located in Thrissur district, is rich in wildlife. The sanctuary is home to considerable populations of elephants, gaurs, sambar, wild dog and sloth bear. A bird survey held here in 2007 had identified the presence of a large number of bird species.


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