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A surprise visitor at Tadoba creates excitement among tourists

You always feel delighted and happy when you have guests around. The same eagerness was shared by authorities and tourists at Tadoba Andhari Reserve. Recently, a black panther was spotted at the jungle and everyone is amazed. Although Tadoba Andhari Reserve is known for its tiger population, the new entrant certainly made news that spread like a wildfire.

Black Panther is a member of a big cat family and not a separate species. However, they are a melanistic color variant representing the cat family. The higher amount of pigmentation makes the big cat appear black. Black Panther is rare as the cubs are born out of gene mutation. The Black Panther has found its way in literature as well. Bagheera, the Black Panther serves as friend, protector, and mentor to ‘Mowgli’ in Jungle Book series. The other members of the cat family are lions, tigers, jaguar and leopard among others. Cheetah and cougar form a different species.

Generally, leopards and jaguars are melanistic versions of black panthers. Leopards in Asia and Africa while those in America are jaguars, cougars or bobcats. However, mainly leopards and Jaguars come in the Panthera genus. Melanism in the Jaguar is conferred by a dominant allele and in the leopard by a recessive allele. These cats have typical markings on their body like leopards or jaguars; however, they are hidden due to excessive pigmentation. This is called ghost striping. You may also find pseudo-melanistic leopard that has a normal background color. Their habitats include rainforest, marshland, woodlands, swamps, savannahs, mountains and deserts among others.

Although Black Panther is a genus of leopards and jaguars, its occurrence with a pigmented body and sparkling eyes in dark makes it unique. Hence, its sightings create astonishment at Tadoba Andhari Reserve. Jharana Jungle Lodge complements with the surprise it created at Tadoba.


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