Karnataka stands second in country
New Delhi: Releasing the status report of leopards, Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has said that increase in tiger, lion and leopard numbers over the last few years was a testimony to the conservation efforts and of the fledgling wildlife and biodiversity of the country.
He said the nation now has 12,852 leopards as compared to the previous estimate of 7,910 in the survey conducted in 2014. More than 60 per cent of increase in population had been recorded.
The States of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra have recorded the highest leopard estimates at 3,421; 1,783 and 1,690 respectively.
“Monitoring of tiger in the country has clearly shown its umbrella role in the ecosystem, which has shed light on other charismatic species like leopard,” he said.
The Minister said 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 – 12,800 leopards within the tiger’s range.
The leopards were 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, Javadekar said.
Tigers have 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) would be reporting on several other species shortly, he noted.
Highest leopard estimate
- Madhya Pradesh – 3,421
- Karnataka – 1,783
- Maharashtra -1,690