Leopard population increases by 60 percent since 2014; habitat loss continues to be major threat

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December 22, 2020 1:19 PM

State break-up of the number of leopards showed that the highest number of big cats are inhabiting in the state of Madhya Pradesh at 3421 followed by Karnataka and Maharashtra with 1783 and 1690 leopards respectively.

About 100 odd tigers have also been found in the forests in the North Eastern States.

In a positive development for the wildlife conservation efforts of the country, the tally of Leopards has increased by as much as 60 per cent in comparison to their number in the year 2014. While the number of big cats in the country in the year 2014 was nearly 8000, the population of the species has increased to 12,852, the Indian Express reported.

The development was announced by the Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday while he was releasing the report titled “Status of leopards in India, 2018′. While commending the efforts undertaken by the wildlife authorities in the country, Javadekar also said the healthy increase in the population of leopards, lions and tigers in the country shows India’s commitment to protect its environment, ecology and biodiversity.

State up break up of the number of leopards showed that the highest number of big cats are inhabiting in the state of Madhya Pradesh at 3421 followed by Karnataka and Maharashtra with 1783 and 1690 leopards respectively. The report also found that the highest number of leopards (8071) have been found to be inhabiting the Central India and the Eastern Ghats region of South India, while the second most preferred region by the big cats is the Sahyadri or Western Ghat region with a healthy population of 3387.

A Sizable number of leopards are also living in the Shivalik region of the outer Himalayas and the Gangetic plains of North India with a population of 1253. About 100 odd tigers have also been found in the forests in the North Eastern States.

As part of the study, about 5240 leopards were captured on camera while others were tallied with the help of satellite imaging coupled with the field work by the teams of forest officials and the teams of Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

Though the report has shown the healthy increase in the population of leopards, it has also flagged that the area inhabited by leopards has been consistently shrinking since the last 100-125 years. The report also mentioned the threats of poaching, habitat loss, depletion of natural prey,and conflict as the major threats to the leopard population.

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