The Jhalana safari mystery: Young leopard found dead. Backbone broken. What happened?

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The Jhalana safari mystery: Young leopard found dead. Backbone broken. What happened?

The populations of several species of fauna - including leopards - have been growing at the Jhalana leopard safari. So what to make of a mysterious leopard death?

A young leopard has been found dead at the Jhalana leopard safari in Jaipur. It's believed to have died on Monday, and is the second leopard to have died in the reserved forest, which is home to 20 of these felines.

Now, you might ask: Well, so what?

The mystery lies in one little detail: forest officials said the animal's backbone was found broken.

While forest officials are unable to say whether the leopard was injured in an accidental fall, it would be a concern for the government if that were indeed the case. The cat that died earlier had a fall.

After the death of these two leopards, experts must look into causes.

The Jhalana reserve forest has received much attention ever since the populations of several species of fauna - leopards, jackals, hyenas, badgers, blue bulls and peaccocks - began to grow in recent years.

As with the increase in the number of leopards, chital numbers have declined, making ecosystem improvement a high priority.

Recently, solar lights were installed, eight water ponds were built, five bore wells were sanctioned, and a wall 30 kilometres long and six feet high was constructed. Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje declared the Jhalana forest the state's first leopard reserve in May.