Green Minute News:

After a lull in wildlife rail kills in Karnataka, a speeding train hit and killed a Black Panther on a rail bridge over River Sowparnika in Udupi district. The Mangala Express running between Mangaluru and Mumbai, hit the young melanistic leopard at 2 am on Monday near Badakere Range of Kundapur forests in Byndoor taluk.

The big cat which found dead by locals on the track itself had reportedly strayed to Bada village from the nearby forests. Local residents who informed the forest officials about the incident told Green Minute that usually normal leopards are seen coming out in search of easy prey like stray dogs and goats.

According to forest officials, the black panther which was about 4-5 years old succumbed to massive internal injuries. After its post mortem, the leopard was cremated as per NTCA protocol for big cats.

Black Panthers are rarely sighted in Kundapur forests which has a healthy population of 10 leopards. This is the first time; such a rail kill has happened in this area and both wildlife activists and forest officials have raised their concern about this incident. With both new projects and doubling of rail tracks proposed between Karnataka and Goa, activists say it would increase rail kills if these are implemented. 

In Karnataka, Black panthers are often seen in Kabini, Dandeli, Bandipur and other forest regions of the state. Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary which is part of the Kundapur forest division too harbors the rare black panthers among its normal variety. They are found in the Meghini Valley reserve forests of this sanctuary. Because of heavy traffic on the highway, this sanctuary is divided into two halves and prevents the free movement of big carnivores and herbivores.