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| Last Updated:18/11/2021

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Worshipping Waghoba: Faith meets conservation in Maharashtra where humans and leopards share space



 by Aathira Perinchery


  • The Warli tribe, an indigenous community that lives in northwest Maharashtra, believes that the cat-god Waghoba will protect them from the negative impacts of sharing spaces with leopards.


  • Scientists conducted a preliminary exploratory study to understand this relationship between the Warlis and their Waghoba. Interviews with Warlis living in three districts in Maharashtra revealed that Waghoba worship was very prevalent and other factors such as local politics could also be contributing to the institution of the Waghoba as we know it today.


  • Such cultural, traditional concepts are relevant to current-day wildlife conservation because they act as “tolerance-building mechanisms” and could help people share space with leopards in the area, suggest the scientists.