India's leopard population rises by 60% to 12,852
New Delhi, December 22, 2020
India's leopard population has risen by 60 per cent to 12,852 today as compared to the previous estimate of 7,910 made in 2014.
The states of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra recorded the highest leopard estimates at 3,421, 1,783 and 1,690, respectively.
Releasing the Status of Leopards report here on Monday, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said the increase in the tiger, lion and leopard numbers over the last years was testimony to the conservation efforts made in the country.
He 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 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. Statistical analysis estimates the leopard population at about 12,800 within the tiger's range.
The leopard 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 uses from where leopards are known to occur), higher elevations in the Himalayas, arid landscapes and majority of North East landscape were not sampled and, therefore, the population estimation should be considered as minimum number of leopards in each of the landscapes, an official press release said.
Tiger has not only served as an umbrella species but its monitoring has also 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, the release added.