60 per cent rise in Leopard population across the Country; India now has 12,852 leopards.

Leopard population increases in India

Increase in Tiger, Lion & Leopards numbers over the last few years is a testimony to the conservation efforts and of the fledgling wildlife & biodiversity of the country, stated Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadeka while releasing the Status of Leopards report in New Delhi on Dec 21.

“Congratulations to the States of MP(3,421), Karnataka(1783) and Maharashtra(1690) who have recorded the highest leopard estimates.

Increase in Tiger, Lion & Leopards population over the last few years is a testimony to fledgling wildlife & biodiversity,” tweeted Javadekar.

India now has 12,852 leopards as compared to the previous estimate of 7910 conducted 2014. More than 60% increase in population has been recorded. The States of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra recorded the highest leopard estimates at 3,421, 1,783 and 1,690 respectively.

Speaking on the occasion, Javadekar remarked that monitoring of the tiger in India has clearly shown its umbrella role in the ecosystem, which has shed light on other charismatic species like the Leopard.

India’s world record tiger survey also estimated the population of leopards and the tiger range was found the home to 12,852 (12,172-13,535) leopards. They occur in prey rich protected areas as well as multi-use forests. A total of 5,240 adult individual leopards were identified in a total of 51,337 leopard photographs using pattern recognition software. The statistical analysis estimates the leopard population at – 12,800 leopards within the tiger’s range.

The leopard population was estimated across forested habitats in tiger range areas of the country but other leopard occupied areas such as non-forested habitats (coffee and tea plantations and other land use from where leopards are known to occur), higher elevations in the Himalayas, arid landscapes and the majority of North East landscape were not sampled and, therefore, the population estimation should be considered as a minimum number of leopards in each of the landscapes.

Tiger has not only served as an umbrella species but even its monitoring has helped evaluate the status of other species, like the leopard. The National Tiger Conservation Authority-Wildlife Institute of India (NTCA-WII) shall be reporting on several other species shortly.


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