Having a leopard in the neighborhood may seem a terrifying prospect, but the reality is that large predator may save your life.
A new study published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment suggests that leopards in Mumbai, the world’s sixth most-populated city, may save human lives by feeding on feral dogs. Feral dogs are a major health issue in India, where they are the leading cause of rabies deaths.
The study was led by researchers from the University of Queensland School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park, with a population of 35 leopards, has the densest population of these big cats in the world. The park is also in the middle of the burgeoning city of Mumbai, with more than 20 million people. Approximately 350,000 people, many of them in poverty, live all along the periphery of the small national park. Leopards can be seen strolling the city streets, and hunting in parking garages.
“While leopards are often in conflict with people over livestock like cattle and sheep and are frequently persecuted throughout their range, we show that these unique predators can also be beneficial to human society,” says Christopher O’Bryan, one of the joint lead authors on the study, and a PhD student at the University of Queensland.
That’s because 40 percent of the average leopard’s diet consists of feral or stray dogs, the researchers found. The density of feral dogs in and around the national park is an average of 17 dogs per square kilometer compared to other parts of Mumbai away from the park boundary that can have upwards of 680 dogs per square kilometer.“Urban Leopards Can Save Lives By Eating Feral Dogs“, by Matthew L. Miller
“And in other news:
Dame Ann Homewood of Watanabe/Toza/Fornast has confirmed the arrival of the Chorpet Flotilla in Toza subsector. The trading fleet is expected to arrive over Nulinad within two months.
Launched from the Solomani Sphere, this fleet has spent five years trading in Solomani goods and information during its journey across the Imperium. Naturally, the fleet has shrunk during her journey, as most of her merchantmen has concluded their business and turned around for home.
But for us here in Nulinad, the remaining six Chorpet liners has one additional delivery to make: the arrival of 600 Aslan families, a gift of the Duke to the planetary government to better help maintain order in Jajapur, the official fief, city and seat of the Sector Duke. The Chorpet Aslan males have been well-drilled in preferred anti-Vargr hand-to-hand and small unit tactics, most of which were developed by Imperial Aslans in the Spinward Marches. They are also pleased to have their Imperial citizenship recognized, and plan to contribute greatly to their new home.”
If – and if so, how – these Aslans were modified by Solomani engineers, I leave to the Referee to decide. My suggestion: spots. And a lighter, faster build, to better handle the Vargr troublemakers.