Forget the Possums – it’s Leopards in the backyard now.
Can you believe this? Some parts of western India, completely devoid of wilderness and with high human populations, are crawling with a different kind of backyard wildlife: leopards!
A new study, complete with night cameras, found large carnivores, including leopards and striped hyenas, in a density never before reported in a human-dominated landscape.
Here’s a photo of a leopard caught on the night camera.
The cameras also picked up rusty spotted cats, small Indian civets, Indian foxes, jungle cats, jackals, mongoose and, of course, people. I had no idea there were so many different small cats in India. And no idea that there were even any leopards left.
People have been killing leopards ruthlessly, not for any strange idea of magical potions (like they think tigers have) but for their beautiful fur. They also slaughter any leopard they see so more houses can be built in Big Cat territory.
Mind you, if I were a leopard and people started building houses near me, I’d be a little tempted to go and bite a few of them but I suppose these Indian leopards are smart enough to keep a low profile.
Just because people have been featuring leopards in art, mythology, and folklore for a few thousand years, that’s no guarantee of safety. Let’s be real, humans are deadly, vicious creatures and revel in wiping out whole species of animals much more noble than themselves.
I have a great admiration for these spotted cats and it was after watching a video of a leopard attacking a python that I felt brave enough to tackle a tiger snake in my own backyard.