India records 60 per cent rise in number of leopards

New Delhi: India recorded a 60 per cent increase in the population of leopards, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar announced on Monday.

While releasing the ‘Status of Leopard in India 2018’ report in New Delhi, Javadekar said an increase in the numbers of tiger, lion and leopard over the last few years is a testimony to fledgling wildlife and biodiversity.

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 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, the ministry added.

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