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Leopards in Mumbai: A Double-edged Sword?

Discussion in 'Wildlife & Nature Conservation' started by Coelacanth18, 18 May 2020.

  1. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    A bit of an old article (2018) but it talks about the impact leopards have in their urban Mumbai stronghold of Sanjay Gandhi National Park. While leopards are a feared predator that occasionally attacks humans, it turns out that their biggest prey item are feral dogs. Responsible for many thousands of bites and hundreds of rabies deaths in the city per year, leopards have reduced the frequency of these dog attacks in the neighborhoods near the park, potentially saving many lives and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Of course, this is also undercut by the fact that leopards still occasionally kill people themselves. I think it makes for a good case study in human-wildlife interactions and how multifaceted they can actually be: Leopards in a city park in India may help lower human injuries and deaths from stray dog bites
     
  2. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Interesting article. I read another article about it inside a copy of BBC Wildlife which talked about a similar subject in 2014. It is unfortunate that these big cats come into conflict with humans, although it is inevitable when such a large and dangerous animal lives in close proximity to an immense human settlement. The feral dog advantage is of course fantastic but I think we have to delve to the root of the problem which is, in short, the destruction of the leopards' habitat to make way for human settlements.
     
  3. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    I am afraid that mankind is much more dangerous to leopards than leopards will ever be to humans. You never read the headline "mankind, a double-edged sword" do you, and does that not make you wonder sometimes we may be barking up the wrong treelines?

    On another note: rabies is a class A viral and most deadly disease. I do not think that having leopards address the rampant and unsanitary dog populations around towns and villages is the adequate and effective answer to combating this disease. Rabies is a highly contagious disease and once the virus has entered the brain of any living organism it is incurable.

    The only effective manner is a concerted campaign to euthanise vagrant dogs and vaccinate any domestic dogs around the country against rabies thereby effectively stemming the disease in its tracks and hopefully eradicating it completely.

    BTW: Most if not all studies on transmission and reservoir populations in rabies or any other viral disease in canids have determined that invariably domestic dogs are the host. Vaccinate and eradicate the disease in domestic dogs, improve vet care for local livestock and reducing HWC will eventually lead local people to accept to live alongside wildlife and not see these as merely a nuisance to their existence.
     
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