Rare leopard sighting captured by stealth camera in India

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You probably didn’t know it, but May 03 was International Leopard Day. It’s really no surprise – if there can be a World Naked Gardening Day (May 7) and a National Bad Poetry Day (August 18), then why the hell can’t leopards shine too ? To mark the occasion, the Indian Forest Service (IFS) shared a video on Twitter of a leopard captured by a stealth camera.

You might not think catching a leopard on a trail camera is anything to shout about, but, considering this was in an area where leopards aren’t even supposed to be, its presence is exciting. Leopards are also solitary creatures, so spotting them on camera is rare, even photographers using some of the best cameras for wildlife photography have trouble spotting them with their clever disguise.

In the video, you can see a leopard approaching the camera, treading carefully but inspecting it closely. After realizing it wasn’t food or a threat, the leopard retreats into the forest, leaving the camera to continue recording:

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Leopards are part of the cat family and can be found in sub-Saharan Africa, Northwest Africa, Central Asia, India, and China. These majestic cats may not be as fast as a lion or a cheetah, but they are master hunters and excellent climbers, and can often be found dragging prey up a hill. Unfortunately, the leopard population is dwindling and in recent years there has been a massive drop in the number of them living in the wild.

Often confused with cheetahs, there are a few distinct differences between these two big cat breeds. While cheetahs have very defined spots, leopards’ dark markings are actually more rosette-shaped and cheetahs have much smaller, streamlined faces – which is one of the reasons they are the animal fastest on the planet.

IFS was established in 1864 and is one of three All India services. Its objective is to ensure the ecological stability of the country by protecting its fauna and natural resources. The IFS has the power to arrest poachers, deny access to tourists and charge people who illegally cause deforestation. By monitoring the activity of endangered species in the wild, IFS is able to better understand leopard populations, their habits and the areas in which they move.

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