Mumbai’s Urban Leopards

Conservation photography can awe and appal in equal measure. For conservation photographer and naturalist Nayan Khanolkar, the latter emotion was triggered in March 2011, when visuals emerged of a leopard being burnt alive by angry villagers near Corbett Tiger Reserve in north India. A few months later….

Leopards in Mumbai - a conflict history

Tigers once shared space with leopards where now the sprawling metropolis of Mumbai with its 2.8 million human residents sits. But the tigers went locally extinct about 87 years ago in Mumbai. Hunting, poaching, rising human population, habitat destruction and degradation and human-animal conflict effectively achieved this . But, amazingly, leopards held on….

Luna - the urban leopardess

I looked at the image, my hands trembling. She stood there, regally, at the edge of the frame, as the moon hung over her. I was hit by the familiar thrill that overtook me each time I saw her majestic figure. It had been two years since I first saw her. A chance incident in 2014 had led us to this point….

Chandni - a tragic story

It is a sight I can still envision: There, in Aarey Colony was a slow-moving, yet lissome creature. Whenever we got close to capturing her on camera, the tawny figure, a play of shadow and light, would disappear. True to her name, Chandni was as golden and as ephemeral as the moonlight…..

Living with leopards - conflict or coexistence?

In 2012, a woman was attacked by a leopard and subsequently killed, in Aarey Colony. The attack elicited a violent mob response, where residents of the colony demanded that the leopard be captured and translocated. A few days later, a young eighteen year old boy was also attacked. His father, a Warli tribesman, managed to rescue him from the leopard….