India leopard population increase over 60%

News: The Union Environment Minister Mr Prakash Javadekar released the report “the Status of Leopard in India 2018”.

According to the report, the population of leopard increased by 60% in India and 12,852 leopards. The highest number of the population recorded in Madhya Pradesh 3421, Karnataka 1783 and Maharashtra 1690.

Leopard (Panthera pardus) is the family member of Felidae. It occurs in every sort of habitat from the rainforest of the tropics to desert and temperate region. The Indian subspecies, Panthera pardus fusca, is found in all forested habitats in the country, except arid deserts and above the timberline in the Himalayas. The number of leopards declines across the country due to habitat loss, prey depletion, conflict, and poaching. Because of these, changing the status of species from Near Threatened to Vulnerable by IUCN.

Tiger in India is a conversion icon and acts as an umbrella species for most eco-regions in the Indian Subcontinent. During tiger estimation 2018 in India, the leopard population was also estimated within the forested habitats in tiger occupied states. Leopards abundance was estimated at the scale of four significant tiger conservation landscapes, i.e.  Shivalik Hills and Gangetic plains, Central India and the Eastern Ghats, Western Ghats and North Eastern Hill & Brahmaputra Flood Plains.

The study was conducted by capturing 5240 leopards on camera apart from satellite imaging and fieldwork by teams of forest officers and the Wildlife Institute of India and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).  

The genetic data and population data suggest that leopard populations across are continuous. There is an increasing need for corridor connectivity and habitat improvement to reduce interface with humans and reduce the chance of conflict.

Leopards, tigers, lions and jaguars are all called big cats and are the smallest members of the larger cat category. The big cats are different from pet cats.. Baby leopards are called a cub and born blind. Leopards are brilliant nocturnal hunters and a keen sense of hearing and sight.

The leopards are light in coloured & the dark spots on their fur. The sports are called rosettes. The leopards can run up to 58 km/h, jump forward 20 feet, leap 10 feet straight up and also skilled climbers.

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