Defending wildlife: Leopard depend up 60% in four years

New Delhi, December 21

The country’s leopard population has increased by 60 per cent — from 8,000 in 2014 to 12,852 in 2018, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said while releasing the “Status of Leopards in India 2018” report here today.

  • MP leads the way
  • Madhya Pradesh 3,421
  • Karnataka 1,783
  • M’rashtra 1,690

He said the leopard population had been estimated using camera trapping method. He asserted that the rise in their number following similar reports on tigers and lions showed that the country was protecting its ecology and biodiversity well.

“Increase in the population of tigers, Asiatic lions and now leopards shows how India is protecting its environment, ecology and biodiversity,” he said. According to the report, India’ s leopard population in 2018 was estimated at 12,852, with Madhya Pradesh leading the pack at 3,421, followed by Karnataka 1,783 and Maharashtra 1,690.

“Congratulations to the states who have recorded the highest leopard estimates. Increase in tiger, lion and leopard population over the last few years is a testimony to fledgling wildlife and biodiversity,” Javadekar added.

As for region-wise distribution, the highest number of 8,071 big cats was found in central India and eastern ghats, which include Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

In the western ghat region, which comprises Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Kerala, there are 3,387 leopards and 1,253 leopards in Shivalik and Gangetic Plains, which includes Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Bihar. In northeast hills, there are just 141 leopards.

Leopards are among the most adaptable carnivores and known to exist very close to human habitations. According to a study, there are four distinct sub-population of leopards in India with high genetic variations — leopards in western ghats, the Deccan Plateau semi-arid region, the Shivalik mountains and the Terai region in north India. — TNS

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