Sanjay Gandhi National Park Mumbai: ‘Savitri’ becomes first leopard to be radio-collared
Mumbai: Three-year-old Savitri became the first leopard to be radio-collared at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).
Afemale leopard was radio-collared and released back into the wild at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) in Borivali on Saturday. Three-year-old Savitri became the first leopard to be radio-collared at SGNP.
“The belt around Aarey, Film city, and SGNP is her territory. We have decided to name this three-year-old leopard as Savitri after social reformer and educationist Savitribai Phule. We are hoping that Savitri will help us understand leopards better,” said G Mallikarjuna, Chief Conservator of Forests, SGNP.
Under this project, a total of five leopards will be radio-collared and tracked. The collars work by sending signals to a satellite, which then transmits the information to researchers, who can investigate where the animal is and what it is doing.
“To understand and study these big cats of Mumbai better, there is a need to use better technologies available, like using satellite collars, etc. This particular study will play a key role in helping the forest department and researchers answer questions like their land-use patterns, their movements across roads with busy traffic, how they avoid humans, etc,” he said.
Dr Vidya Athreya of Wildlife Conversation Society (WCS), who is leading this collaborative project with SGNP, said leopards are extremely secretive animals which is why very little is known about them. So far, SGNP has been using camera traps to monitor leopards.
“This project involves GPS telemetry, where radio collars that communicate via satellite and send locations to the researchers will be used on a total of five leopards, of which three are females and two males,” said Athreya.
The collars will help gather information on how leopards move across major roads such as Ghodbandar Road and understand their use of space and time in the SGNP landscape. It will also help provide management recommendations regarding the way the leopards move in the landscape and conflict mitigation based on the results of the study.
The key aspects of this project are to obtain knowledge on how humans and leopards interact with each other, and how each adapts to the presence of the other.