The count of Leopards, conducted together with Tiger’s census held last year, has revealed that spotted cat population to be around 12,000 – 14,000, as said by Yadvendradev V Jhala, the lead scientist of the Tiger census. The Leopard and Tiger belong to the cat family and were counted using the similar technique adopted in Tiger census, in which pictures of animal was taken through camera trapping and collecting other evidence of their existence, then anticipating the count to cover an entire forest landscape.
The census covered more than 3.5 lacs sq Km of forest area, which included Shivalik Hills, Gangetic Plain, Central India and Western Ghats landscapes and the exercise came-up with nearly 17000 pictures from 1647 individual leopards were obtained, which covered a good number of forested site and even the low grade revenue jungles.
The study found that species is well spread across the country, demonstrating that India’s Leopard populace is quite healthy. Jhala added, “Most of the leopards are close to healthy genetic swap. So, they do not face the problem of secluded population that plague Indian Tiger’s do.”
However, hale and hearty forests remain decisive to the continuing endurance of leopards in India. Jhala emphasized,“There is an impression that Leopards are everywhere, is not the case, leopard needs a confined region of forest to occur in area. The animal is not found in purely agricultural stretches.” These spotted cats have an estimated population of 1817 in Madhya Pradesh as the highest count of leopard in country, followed by 1129 in Karnataka, Maharashtra (905), Chhattisgarh (846) and Tamil Nadu (815). The censuses do not cover Gujarat, parts of Rajasthan, east India and whole of northeast.
The census gives first accurate picture of the density and distribution of leopards, which was previously estimated to be 10000 – 45000 in across country.