Recently, a rare Melanistic Leopard (commonly known as Black Panther) has been recorded in Navegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve (NNTR) of Maharashtra.

Important points:

  • Leopards (Panthera Pardus) are either light colored (pale yellow to deep gold or tawny) with black rosettes or with black fur.
  • The melanistic leopards, which are either all-black or very dark in coloration, are known as black panthers. It is a color variant of spotted Indian leopards, reported from densely forested areas of south India.
  • Black coat coloration is attributed to the expression of recessive alleles in leopards and dominant alleles in jaguars. In each species, a certain combination of alleles stimulates the production of large amounts of the dark pigment melanin (Melanism) in the animal’s fur and skin.
  • The appearance of a black coat may be influenced by other factors, such as the angle of incident light and the animal’s life stage.
  • It is as shy as a normal leopard and very difficult to detect.
  • They are mainly in Southwestern China, Burma, Nepal, Southern India, Indonesia, and the southern part of Malaysia.

In India they can be spotted in the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra etc.

  1. Habitat loss
  2. Collision with vehicles.
  3. Diseases.
  4. Human encroachment.
  5. Poaching.

Protection Status:

IUCN Red List: Vulnerable.

CITES: Appendix I.

Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I.

Navegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve:

  • It is situated in Gondia and Bhandara districts of Maharashtra.
  • Strategically, the Tiger Reserve is located in the heart of central Indian Tiger landscape which contributes almost one sixth of the total tiger population of the country.
  • It was designated as the 46th Tiger Reserve of India in December 2013.
  • It comprises the notified area of Navegaon National Park, Navegaon Wildlife Sanctuary, Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary, New Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary and Koka Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • NNTR has connectivity with the major tiger reserves in Central India like,
  • Kanha and Pench tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh,
  • Tadoba-Andhari Tiger reserve in Maharashtra,
  • Indravati Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh,
  • Indirectly with the Kawal and Nagarjuna Sagar in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and, Achanakmar Tiger reserve in Chhattisgarh.
  • It is also connected to important tiger bearing areas like Umred-Karhandla sanctuary and Brahampuri Division (Maharashtra).
  • The major forest type is “Southern Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest”.
  • Few thorny plants are also found and Bamboo occurs in abundance.
  • Carnivores such as leopards and smaller carnivores like wild dogs, wolf jackals, jungle cats and also the good population of sloth bears are seen.
  • Herbivore includes Cheetal, Sambar, Nilgai, Chousingha, Barking deer, Wild pig, Indian gaur and Mouse deer.
  • More than 300 species of birds have been reported from the area.


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