Last year, Rohini Nilekani had written that she had not been able to see a black panther despite several attempts.

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news Wildlife Saturday, March 06, 2021 - 19:15

Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani and philanthropist Rohini Nilekani witnessed an encounter between a black panther, Saya, at Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary with Scarface, a leopard who has taken over the territory. According to wildlife filmmaker and photographer Shaaz Jung, Scarface earned the name after he sustained an enormous gash across his face in a fierce fight with his father.

The Nilekanis love for the big cat is well documented. In October 2020, the Rohini Nilekani Foundation donated 700 field kits for frontline staff at the Nagarhole Tiger Reserve. In interviews, Rohini has described Kabini as her favorite forest and said that it is a "special place"

She has, in the past, voiced her support of the team of Sandesh Kadur of Felis Creations, a media team that filmed Wildcats of India and India’s Wild Leopards in Kabini. Similarly, in a post published on her website, she referenced documentary projects like Amoghavarsha and team's 'Wild Karnataka', which was popularised by the narration given by British historian Sir David Attenborough. 

In an article for Deccan Herald last year, Rohini Nilekani called Kabini “a very special place” and said that it “defies many notions of wilderness”.

“The Kabini safari has surfaced at the top of people’s bucket lists partly because it is home to the world’s most famous living black panther. Because of his beautiful coat, he is simply referred to as ‘kariya’. This black panther is as elusive as he is magnificent, and I belong to the humbled hordes that have not seen him despite several attempts,” she wrote in the piece in July, with this finally being changed.

In July last year, a forest range officer (FRO) in Nagarhole Tiger Reserve spotted a black panther at a time when two photographs of a similar big cat had gone viral on social media. Deputy Conservator of Forests D Mahesh Kumar said there are about half a dozen black panthers in Karnataka forests and one in Nagarhole, and though it is not impossible to spot them, they are rare.

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