Hunting leopard caught on camera for the second time

First caught on film years ago, an Indian leopard was photographed recently. Spot comparison computer software aided researchers in recognizing the animal. Photos like this can help scientists track the life histories of wildlife. 

AP Photo
In this file photo, a leopard rests on a shelf after wandering into a store in the Sonepur district, of the eastern Indian state of Orissa. Another Indian leopard was caught on camera while hunting recently.

A leopard caught on camera dragging the grisly remains of its prey across the ground turns out to have posed for the cameras before.

Researchers at the Wildlife Conservation Society analyzed the striking photograph of a male leopard carrying a massive Indian bison calf in its jaws and found that the same leopard was once photographed in 2004.

The new photograph shows the leopard carrying a guar, or bison, calf. Leopards use their strong jaws to haul huge prey into trees for safe-keeping. In this case, the dead calf likely weighed about 220 pounds (100 kilograms), while the leopard might weigh between 110 pounds (50 kg) and 150 pounds (70 kg).

Photographer Vinay S. Kumar snapped the photo at India's Bandipur Tiger Reserve. Kumar submitted the photo to the not-for-profit Conservation India, triggering a CSI-like chain of investigation as to the identity of the wild cat. Conservation India passed the photograph to the Wildlife Conservation Society's India Program, which maintains a database of camera-trap photos, including hundreds of leopard photographs.

Using computer software that compares the spot patterns of the leopards, the researchers were able to identify the leopard as Bandipur Leopard #123 (BPL-123 for short). The leopard was first caught on film in December 2004, the agency reported.

"Photographs can help track the life histories of individual tigers — and as can be seen in this case, leopards," Ullas Karanth, director of WCS's India Programs, said in a statement. "In this context, even photographs taken by tourists can be valuable in providing additional information. As this particular 'catch' shows, BPL-123 is thriving, and his superb condition is perhaps an indicator of the health of his habitat too."

Follow Stephanie Pappas on Twitter @sipappas or LiveScience @livescience. We're also on Facebook Google+

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.