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Indian Leopard (Panthera pardus fusca)

United Kingdom Sully Offline
Ecology & Rewilding
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Quote: Was lucky to witness and capture Leopard with Black Naped Hare kill at Bandipur on the weekend. Thanks to Guru Dutt and Basavanna of JLR, without their support this was not possible.
I increased the ISO despite good light to freeze the action as the leopard was running away with the hare in his jaws.

Camera Model Canon EOS 7D, 500mm
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/800
Av( Aperture Value ) 4
ISO 800
Focal length 500mm
Full frame
Bean bag support
Time of action : 5:10pm

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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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The Elusive Cat of Bandipur!


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4th March 2011, I along with few of my friends visited Bandipur Tiger Reserve, since most of them were photographers we decided to be together in one jeep & leave a little early. We managed to leave for our evening safari at 3:45pm and our first encounter was with a herd of Elephants that had a calf, so the protective mother not only charged but in a fit of anger she kicked a dry tree stump lying on the ground and it almost hit our jeep.

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Further the excitement continued and we were lucky to spot & shoot a pair of wild dogs (Dhole).The couple probably had good meal and were in a relaxed mood, the sun was setting and I was fortunate to photograph them in the evening golden light.
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We continued our ride and later there were no sightings of any animals, also the light was fading and it was almost 6:30pm so we took the 1st mile JD road and headed towards the exit gate. As we were driving we heard langur (black faced monkey) alarm calls, I was sure that a tiger or a leopard is around, we waited patiently and after a while the alarm calls stopped. If the predator is around the langur will continue to give alarm calls, and in this case I guess that predator had moved hence the calls stopped.
I was looking through the bushes very carefully as during dusk the tigers or the leopard is on the move. As usual I was in the front seat along with my lucky driver Kiran, my friends were at the rear open top seats along with naturalist Natraj, one my friend Bhargava’s mom too had accompanied and she was inside right behind me.



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We reached the 1st mile JD road and suddenly to my left I spotted a leopard resting in the open, immediately I asked Kiran to switch off the engine and asked everyone to remain calm. Leopards are so shy even if spotted from a distance they disappear in fraction of a second. And believe me this one was less than 25 meters from our jeep.

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As soon as the leopard saw us it was about to disappear in the bushes but because we maintained pin drop silence and unmoved, it seemed relaxed and settled down. I grabbed this opportunity to shoot with my Canon 7D & 500mm Lens; the light was very low as the time was 6:40pm. I immediately increased the ISO to 1600 setting the largest aperture 4 and took some shots. After 5 mins I further increased the ISO to 3200 and shot few more images. Unbelievable sighting this is I said in my mind and continued to shoot.

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While shooting with 500mm I realized that the leopard was so close that I was unable to get him in full and part of the body couldn’t fit in the frame. I immediately pulled out my other camera, Canon 40D with 100-400mm Lens. With this I was able to get the Leopard in full.

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By now we had spend almost 10-15 mins with leopard, so I thought I will try a video that is in-built in my Canon 7D, I pressed the record button and suddenly a forest dept jeep came closer, with the noise the leopard crouched and disappeared in the bushes. Fortunately all this got recorded.

When we returned to the JLR resort, none of the staff at JLR including the resort manager Mr.Gangaswamy couldn’t believe that we spotted a leopard in the open and not only photographed but also that I could take a video. Everyone who visits forest regularly knows how difficult it is to even get glimpse of this most elusive and shy cat.

Posted by Praveen Siddannavar at 12:02 PM
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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Gir


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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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Gir


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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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The sight of any of the big cats is breathtaking and for me certainly each time its different and each time is the same. Its like partaking of some heady brew that makes your senses swim. It gives me a rush. When I miss a sighting on my safaris I really bum out. I mean I have usually seen whole bunch of deer, birds, other animals but no big cat …. And I am just on a bummer. The anticipatory high lets me down with a bump and I am low as low can be.

The quest for leopard began for me when I was in class 6, donkeys years ago. My grandfather went on safari in Bandipur close to Mysore where he lived and knowing I loved animals he sent me 6 typed pages of a trip report. His first para contained references to “Mr. Spots walking over the rocks”. The imagery was bold and had a profound impression on me. He has passed on to his reward now, that trip report has become compost somewhere and I am almost 40 years older but I remember the thrill that reading the report from him in my hostel dorm gave me.

Recently in Feb I was walking along in Ranthambore and missed a leopard sighting while I was putting away my camera. (Related in “birdwalking in Ranthambore”). In Gir I was plugged in to lions but upon hearing that there were 320 leopards in the park I was hopeful. The hopes went up in smoke when all the guides said “ahhhh leopard…… hmmmmm mushkil hai (difficult)”. I was happy with lion and the first day had a sighting but leopard was stuck in my head. Seems to stand to reason that 320 leopards should pop out of the woodwork somewhere I thought over a thoughtful chai at my roadside dhaba. A guide accosted me said “oh sahab we saw three leopards drinking water today” It was an omen. Tomorrow was my day. Suddenly I knew it. It had to be. Why would the guy come to me and give me this tantalizing bit of information???? It had to be.

Next morning I joined a couple who were photographers and we all saw our first leopard in the early dawn just walking through the trees parallel to the road. Well we saw bits of the leopard at any rate. It seems people don’t often see a whole leopard. I met another chap there at Gir who said he had seen 30% of a leopard. That is a very apt description I thought. A shy animal, the leopard rarely comes out in the open, unlike lions and tigers who are quite cool about human presence. That afternoon we saw another leopard cross the road. He stopped in the middle of the road and looked at us before bounding away. We rushed to the spot but he was racing for the trees and was gone before we could get a shot. But hey nevertheless two leopards in one day. Pretty good going.

Before I left Gujarat I was able to come back once more and the morning safari drew a blank. No cats. No lions no leopards just a mongoose. Humph! The evening started off well and we saw a lioness at close quarters and then the guide took us to the high point in the trail to wait for twilight and more lions or leopards. We were just sitting there when a jeep pulled up and a couple of Europeans said the leopard was laying up in the dry river bed in plain sight but had just moved off after they came there 400 yards back. We went down there… no sign of him. We revved up the hill and sneaked back down with engine off and stopped on the bridge. Still could not spot him and then the guide said the magic words. “there he is”. He obviously thought we had gone and had come back to sit there in the deep shadow. Getting a shot was really tough and though I did my best it was a long long way away. He soon got up and moved off unfortunately and we were dismayed until the guide said "he will be up on the hill lets go back." We went back and sure enough he came and sat down cool as dammit in the undergrowth, lit up in the setting sun. I could not have asked for more. At least I don’t think so. I could hardly believe my luck. Got the long lens fixed and the bean bag in place as quickly and quietly as I could, with my heart beating so loud, I thought surely he could hear me. Then got my fill of his magnificent looks. He looked straight in the camera for about 10 min, before getting up and going about his business. I say got my fill, but big cats are like a heady brew as I said. You have never had enough. Never.

Thanks be to God and He made leopards.


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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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Gir


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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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Indian Leopard | Gir National Park | Gujarat | India


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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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Some more Gir


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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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It was stalking this deer across the track, when our Gypsy arrived at a rather inopportune moment. After we managed to glimpse the leopard for a few seconds ...


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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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Mammal Life of Gir

Soon after our bonanza with the Lion, we found this Prince of the jungle a full grown male leopard bound across the road that startled us all.  Gir has a healthy population of leopards, perhaps the highest in any national park. In sharp contrast to the Lion or tiger, the Leopard is a comparatively shy and cunning animal that is scared of human activity. However, that makes him a lot more difficult to see and even more dangerous.So this was a real bonus after the Lion sighting. Here he is crouching between the trees watching us carefully in hunting mode, before he suddenly springs up and bounds into the jungle. Now that made our day!


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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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We felt a sudden jolt when our driver put a sudden brake and informed us that he sighted a leopard hunting a deer hardly a few meters away. All of us forgot to start our camera and click...we were engrossed in watching the Leapord in hunting pose and the deer standing right behind the bush.
I did try to zoom but my kit lens could not capture those rare moments. Moreover my hands were trembling when the guide said that leopards are more dangerous than lions and often attack humans.
Can you spot the tiny leopard in attacking pose in those dry bushes?
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stoja9 Offline
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Question -- are Indian leopards the largest sub-species? Some of these big boys look like jaguars. Massive heads and thick shoulders.
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United States Pckts Offline
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(04-26-2016, 02:27 AM)stoja9 Wrote: Question -- are Indian leopards the largest sub-species? Some of these big boys look like jaguars. Massive heads and thick shoulders.

No, to date the largest leopard is a persian leopard weighing 115kg but most of the time leopards usually run the gamete of weights in any given location.
Some say Sri Lanken leopards are the largest, others say persians, africans, indians, Amurs, etc.
Its a highly debatable question.
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Argentina Tshokwane Offline
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Kirti Ranjan Nayak:
Thats my tree. Stay Away..

Kabini..


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