It was found that they are not 'stray' or 'conflict' animals, but residents in human-dominated areas, said Vidya Athreya of Wildlife Conservation Society. Moreover, two of the females even gave birth to cubs during the course of the study, confirming their residence.
A number of cases of man-animal conflict involving leopards, hit by habitat loss, have been reported from all over the country. The study, however, found that the big cats applied
tactics to avoid encountering people, despite dependence on their resources.

Firstly, the animals mostly moved at night, which timed perfectly with low human activity. They also spent more time closer to homes, less than 25 metre in many location recordings, at night, than during the day.

"This gave them an access to people's livestock, and yet kept them safe from people," Athreya explained. Scientists from Norway, Asian Nature Conservation Foundation and experts from the forest departments of Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra took part in this study.

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