- The wildlife wing of Odisha’s forest and Environment Department have recorded the presence of black panthers in a forest in Sundargarh district. The photographs make Odisha the ninth State in India where the elusive and rare big cat has been seen.
- Black panther or melanistic leopard is a colour variant of the Indian leopard and the footage of this animal has been captured repeatedly by cameras installed in Garjanpahad Reserve Forest of Hemgir Range of Sundargarh Forest Division.
- The leopards’ skins vary in colour and the jet black melanistic form is called black panther. It is as shy as a normal leopard and very difficult to detect. It is mostly found in densely forested areas of southern India.
- The reserve forest where the footage of the black panther has been recorded is spread across the Hemgir and Gopalpur Range.
- Black panthers have also been reported from Kerala (Periyar Tiger Reserve), Karnataka (Bhadra Tiger Reserve, Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve and Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary), Chhattisgarh (Achanakmar Tiger Reserve), Maharashtra (Satara), Goa (Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary), Tamil Nadu (Mudumalai Tiger Reserve), Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.