Assam undertakes leopard census for town planning

Exercise in view of increasing human-wildlife conflict due to rapid infrastructure development

Exercise in view of increasing human-wildlife conflict due to rapid infrastructure development

A forestry division in Assam has launched the state’s first leopard census to map the spotted cat’s habitat and routes and set standards for town planning to follow.

The exercise, involving talks with residents of urban settlements and villages under the North Kamrup Forestry Division, would take place over six months.

The division covers urban, semi-urban and rural areas on the north bank of the Brahmaputra River facing Guwahati, once the domain of leopards.

Divisional Forestry Officer Sunnydeo Choudhary said mapping leopard territories was necessary given the increase in human-wildlife conflicts due to rapid infrastructure development.

“Leopards prefer outlying areas of jungles and often attack human settlements for food. The objective of this exercise was to map their population, habitat and movement routes for better human settlement planning,” he said. -he declares.

Mr Choudhary said leopard habitat in non-forest areas is shrinking with every infrastructure project.

“We should be able to tell the government how to plan infrastructure projects once we have a fair idea of ​​the leopard’s status,” he said.

Preliminary work including field visits, signage survey and awareness campaign has started. Data from approximately 50 cameras to be installed at strategic locations will be collected every seven days.

The area to be covered includes All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati.

The camera trap will start on February 7 after the presentation of the detailed plan.