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PHOTO: National Geographic captures Mumbai’s daring leopards

More often than not, these leopar­ds come in confli­ct with humans residi­ng the area with fatal reperc­ussion­s

Two leopard cubs seen on Mumbai’s hilltop with the background of the citysc ape. PHOTO: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC INSTAGRAM

Mumbai, one of the India’s busiest cities, is not solely home to some 20 million people but a haven for dozens of leopards.

The big cats live in and around the metropolis’ Sanjay Gandhi National Park, often venturing into the dwellings of people who call the national park their home.

More often than not, these leopards come in conflict with humans residing the area with fatal repercussions.

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Despite this, the big cats are surviving and surprisingly their clan is thriving, according to the latest census.

On November 19, National Geographic published a startling photograph of two leopard cubs wandering on a hilltop, and that too with Mumbai’s amazing cityscape in the background.

@natgeo @stevewinterphoto Here is more proof that we humans live with majestic animals in urban areas without even knowing they are there – AND without major problems – if we let them be. Leopards are the most adaptable and the most persecuted cat on our planet. Shot for my @natgeo Leopard story – 2 leopard cubs are walking up stairs to go drink at a waterhole where the caretaker of a local shrine lives. The man has goats and chickens that drink the water during the day – at night he puts the livestock in his house for safety and the leopards come to drink – in Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai India. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2015/12/leopards-moving-to-cities-text The residents of Mumbai use the park during the day – kids playing cricket, couples walking after work or school – others just walking in nature hearing the symphony of the park – the bird calls – leaving the bustling city of over 21 million people. But at night the leopards come out – in the core of the park they have a substantial food source of deer and other species – but they walk silently on the trails at night close to apartment buildings. In one instance I met a man who had lived in this building for 10 years and did not know there were leopards here! I saw him every night walking with friends getting some exercise – two weeks later he tells me he was up at 3:30AM and looks out his window and sees a leopard for the first time! Our natural world is simply perfect and incredibly amazing. And without it we as humans cannot survive – we need to wake up and save the nature that we depend on for our oxygen, water and food – life itself. If we save big cats we can save ourselves. National Geographic launched the Big Cats Initiative to raise awareness and implement change to the dire situation facing big cats. Please visit CauseAnUproar.org to find out more about Build a Boma and other ways to become involved to save big cats! Give a High 5 for big cats! #5forbigcats @ #follow me @stevewinterphoto to see other images, thanks! @natgeo @thephotosociety @natgeocreative #bigcatsforever #ivoryfree #wildaid #bigcatsforever #beauty #me #follow #love #leopards @wildaid

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The picture was captured by photojournalist Steve Winter as part of an ongoing series of photos along with American non-fiction writer Richard Conniff’s National Geographic magazine story on the fascinating and ever evolving relationship – and perhaps the fight – between humans and leopards.

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“India may be the real test of survival in a crowded world — and perhaps a model for it — because leopards live there in large numbers, outside protected areas,” Conniff writes, “and in astonishing proximity to people.”

The article originally appeared in Quartz India

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