The Alley Cats: Photographer Nayan Khanolkar Captures Leopards In The Middle Of Mumbai
Few people can associate the bustling metropolis of Mumbai with forest and diverse wildlife, let alone the presence of a large cat in the by-lanes of the city. Yet this unexpected situation exists in the middle of Mumbai with more than 35 wild leopards living in the center of the city in Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Here you can see one of them on its nocturnal prowl.
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The leopard is the most persecuted big cat in the world. These felines are among the most adaptable and versatile large carnivores, occurring in a diversity of landscapes across India, wherever anti-hunting laws are enforced and cultural tolerance is higher. It took serendipity to get the elegance of a leopard with the moon and city elements together in a frame after eight months of camera trapping.
“I was always interested in photography. This took a turn towards wildlife photography when I was posted at Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur. Because that’s when I got to interact with many professional wildlife photographers and observe them as they worked, ” says Nayan Khanolkar.
“I was taught wildlife photography in the school of Trials, Errors and Experiments. As a Wildlife Photographer, I have travelled extensively across India and have covered varied habitats from cold deserts of Ladakh to blue lagoons of Lakshadweep and from hot deserts of Rajasthan to the tropical wet evergreen forests of Assam. While the variety of flora and fauna held my interest, it was the behavior of various bird species that I enjoyed capturing most.”