The Times of India reported last week, the Jhalana Reserve Forest in Jaipur will spearhead “Project Leopard,” a first of its kind of conservation effort in the world to be launched across eight conservation reserves and sanctuaries across Rajasthan.
The Jhalana reserve will be upgraded with a multi-crore budget including an outer periphery wall and designated as a Leopard Reserve.
The blue print of the project is ready and is expected to be launched in the first week of October that also happens to be the Wildlife Week.
The project spread across 1,926.80 square km of sanctuaries in the state, aims at mitigating human-leopard conflicts and conserving the leopard population that was conceived on behalf of standing committee on wildlife by Valmik Thapar, a wildlife specialist.
“It is the first effort in the world at conserving leopards by reducing conflict between the animal and the man. The core of our mission is based on the crying need to create a better relationship between man and leopard in Rajasthan and secure leopard population which otherwise could dwindle and eventually die out. This unique scheme will enhance the status of the Leopard and boost wildlife tourism across Rajasthan thereby impacting hugely on local economies,” Thapar said.
Project Leopard will run in eight sanctuaries; Jaisamand Sanctuary in Udaipur, Bassi Sanctuary in Chittorgarh, Shergarh Sanctuary in Baran, Kumbhalgarh Sanc tuary-Raoli Todgarh Sanctuary (stretched from Ajmer to Udaipur), Mount Abu Sanctuary-Sundamata Conservation Reserve, Jhalana Aamagarh Conservation Reserve, Jaipur, Jawai Conservation Reserve, Pali and Khetri Bansyal Conservation Reserve, Jhunjhunu.
According to the project’s proposal: “The project will enhance the protection of leopards and the habitats they frequent resulting in better natural prey density and less dependence on livestock. In the first five years, the aim will be to restore habitats and increase leopard numbers to 1500.”
By taking appropriate measure, leopards will be prevented from straying into human dominated landscapes and this will in turn minimize the negative impact of blue bull and wild boar populations.
Additionally, Project Leopard will enhance the potential for wildlife tourism and generate revenue for the local communities. This will boost the habitats in the 8 selected sites and motivate the forest and wildlife staff.”