Last seen in 2019, this blue-eyed leopardess went 'missing' to look for her own territory, informed officials.
Cleopatra, Jhalana's most beautiful leopardess was three years old, when she went missing in 2019. Two years on, the blue-eyed beauty was spotted here, after a thorough investigation of the Forest Department. Leopard experts from Jhalana had installed camera traps in several forest regions, which lead to the discovery of Cleopatra in the forests of Sumail in the Galta region on June 13.
Cleopatra finally found after tracing 10,000 photographs
The Forest Department scrutinised around 10,000 photographs attained from the trap cameras across various forests in the vicinity of Jaipur. Given the long period of absence, many believed that the 'Queen of Jhalana', Cleopatra was dead and it wasn't until confirming it twice, that the Department announced her to be alive. However, experts have informed that the young leopardess had wandered off to seek her own territory, a common behaviour among sub-adult leopards.
Officials informed that the leopardess is in the Galta region and she appears to be healthy. The Forest Department is keeping tabs on its movement and charting a plan regarding its future, simultaneously.
Cleopatra is the offspring of Flora and has a sibling, Juliet, who attracted a flock of tourists with her regular sightings. As such, Cleopatra's absence was highlighted all the more, getting the Forest Department to launch a search investigation. During the course of this search, a study found that around 32 leopards have died or gone missing from Jhalana from 2012 to 2021. Of this, around 25 leopards were sub-adults or cubs who disappeared or died in the search of their own territory.
Plans to broaden forest space for leopards
Presently, the area is a natural habitat of 36 leopards, living across 20 sq km. The density is too high for an urban forest, remarked the officials, given a steady birth rate of new cubs. As more cubs are born regularly, sub-adults and adults are getting pushed out of the Jhalana Leopard Safari Park- eventually getting killed in territorial fights.
Studies inform that a male leopard ideally requires at least a 5 sq km area. Hence, the Forest Department is considering the development of the surrounding forests, including the ones in the Galtra region, to provision an almost 700-hectare habitat for these wild cats. This will prevent the leopards from wandering away or loitering around in neighbouring reserves, facilitating their protection.