Leopards and humans peacefully share the same densely populated rural landscape in western India, a new camera trap survey shows.
The cameras caught leopards and other jungle cats, as well as hyenas and jackals, prowling close to houses through the night in farmland in western Maharashtra, India. The carnivores and people shared the same paths — so much so that the researchers had to turn off their camera traps during the day because of the human and livestock traffic.
Yet the leopards went largely undetected by people, according to a statement from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which helped fund the study.
"Human attacks by leopards were rare despite a potentially volatile situation considering that the leopard has been involved in serious conflict, including human deaths in adjoining areas," Ullas Karanth of the WCS, a study co-author, said in the statement. "The results of our work push the frontiers of our understanding of the adaptability of both humans and wildlife to each other's presence."
The findings were published online March 6 in the journal PLOS One. [CONTINUE]