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Nature’s wonders continue to surprise people even as the world is gripped by the COVID-19 outbreak. For the first time in Goa, images and videos of a black panther have gone viral on the internet. By Upasana Singh

All of us are familiar with the iconic character of Bagheera in Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book. Presumed to be a mythical creature that only exists in fiction, much to our surprise, the animal has been spotted in Goa! Yes, you read that right.

 

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The rare sight of a black panther has been caught on camera at Patiem Beat of South Goa’s Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant shared the image of the beautiful dark big cat and tweeted, “A great glimpse of Goa’s rich wildlife.” With several retweets and likes, some people are comparing the image to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe’s hit film Black Panther.

As per a report, a forest department official stated that they are now trying to find out if there are other black panthers in the area. The Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary is predominantly inhabited by tigers. This is supposedly the first time wherein a black panther has been spotted in the area.

Black panthers are the melanistic colour variant of the spotted leopard in Asia and Africa, and the jaguar in the Americas. Due to their dark colour, it is extremely difficult to spot them in the wild. This is why the latest sight of the species in Goa is so special.

 

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Environmentalists and nature enthusiasts believe that the animal was seen because of its proximity to the Kali Tiger Reserve in Karnataka, a protected area and home to big feline species such as tigers and leopards. Black panthers reside in the Netravali-Mhadei area but more so on the Karnataka and Maharashtra side. Reduced human interference due to lockdown could be a reason for the latest sighting.

The forest department, as well as the wildlife activists in the area, have been actively involved in conserving the big cat population after the incident of tiger killing in Mhadei. The image of the black panther that has gone viral, is a testament to their continuous efforts and success in implementing wildlife management techniques.

Related: This Is How Goa Government Is Ensuring The State Remains COVID-19 Free