Aizawl (www.zoramobserver.com): Dampa Tiger Reserve, the largest wildlife sanctuary in Mizoram now holds the distinction of housing the highest number of clouded leopards in Southeast Asia according to Indian and British experts, an official release said on Thursday.
The release said that density of population of clouded leopards locally known as ‘Kelral’ is 5.14 per 100 sq km in the reserve, situated in the western part of Mizoram, at the international border with Bangladesh about 127 km from Aizawl. This population density broke the existing record of density of population of clouded leopard in Southeast Asia which is 3.46 per 100 sq km, the release added.
The area of the reserve is around 80 sq km and the density of population of marbled cats, also known as ‘Sanghar’, is 5.03 per 100 sq km.
The state’s Environment, Forests and Climate Change Department placed several camera traps at different places across the Dampa Tiger Reserve, which captured the clouded leopards 84 times and the marbled cats 36 times, the release said.
Clouded leopards in Dampa Tiger Reserve are placed above scheduled-I protection under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Dampa Tiger Reserve, the largest wildlife sanctuary in Mizoram was notified in 1985 and declared a Tiger Reserve in 1994. It is the natural home of leopards, Indian bison, barking deer, sloth bear, gibbons, langurs, slow loris, rhesus macaque, Indian Python(Python Molurus Molurus), wild boar and a variety of birds. Unfortunately its namesake tiger has disappeared almost entirely, the enumeration indicated only 4 individuals in 1994, when it was pronounced as tiger reserve.