View Full Version : Black panther spotted for first time in Punjab.. source - TOI Website

Hymakar Valluru
29-06-2012, 02:16 PM
The Black panther has been spotted and photographed for the first time in Punjab. The panther was photographed in a chance sighting in the Forest department plantations near Chakdhallian village adjacent to the Dholbaha-Tanda road in Hoshiarpur district by Shahnawaz Chaudhry, son of Honorary Wildlife Warden, Kanwar Chaudhry.

My son was passing by when he saw this huge black cat. He went towards it and took pictures from his cellphone at a distance of about 45 yards. Unfortunately, he did not have a camera. The Black panther was a juvenile and seemed to have come back from taking a drink of water from a nearby stream. I reached the spot later and found two sets of leopard pugmarks. The spot where my son had taken the photograph was where I saw the pugmarks of a young leopard. Some distance away, I observed the pugmarks of an adult leopard, which I think could be the mother of the Black panther,'' Kanwar Chaudhry told ToI. Contrary to popular perception,a anther and a leopard are one and the same animal. Black panthers or leopards have normally been sighted in Karnataka, Goa and Assam.

This rare creature, which acquires a black coat because of a melamin disorder, was immortalised in the book, 'The Black Panther of Sivanipalli', by the renowned hunter, Kenneth Anderson, who was based in Bangalore. Melamin is the black pigmentation in leopard colouration and its excess leads to a Black panther, whose normal coat can be seen under the black sheath in strong light.

The Black leopard is the same species as a normal-coloured leopard with a high amount of pigment (melanin) causing the animal to be very dark or black. Melanism occurs because of a recessive gene mutation of the leopard. Melanism is hereditary but is not necessarily passed directly from one generation to the next. A black leopard cub will be born with both parents carrying the melanistic gene. A fair-coloured leopard can carry the recessive melanistic gene. Often a black leopard cub is born along with fair-coloured cubs. If both parents are black, the leopard cubs are always black. Melanistic leopards are more commonly found in dense tropical rain forest of South and South-east Asia. Here it is thought that the dark colouration acts as better camouflage in low sunlight conditions of the forest floor.''

The presence of a Black panther confirms the consistent sightings of leopards across Hoshiarpur district as also the fact that there are a good number of breeding pairs. Both Chaudhry and Nikhil Sanger, who is the President of the Wildlife Conservation Society, have extensively scoured the jungles of Hoshiarpur and Nawashahr on foot and on vehicle in pursuit of leopards. They estimate the number of leopards in Hoshiarpur district alone at 45.