Increase in Tiger, Lion and Leopard numbers testimony to fledgling wildlife and habitat, says Forest Minister
India now has 12,852 leopards; congratulations to the States of MP(3,421), Karnataka(1,783) and Maharashtra(1,690) who have recorded the highest leopard estimates, says Javadekar
In the given estimation from the tiger range it was found that 12,852 (12,172-13,535) leopards were present. Leopards are seen in prey rich protected areas as well as multi-use forests, the ministry of environment, forest and climate change said in a press release. 5,240 adult individual leopards were identified in a total of 51,337 leopard photographs by using a pattern recognition software.
"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," Javadekar said.
The estimated leopard numbers come after sampling forested habitats in tiger range areas. 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 have not been sampled. This could mean the current estimation can be considered as a minimum number of leopards in each of the landscapes.
"Tiger has not only served as an umbrella species but even its monitoring has helped evaluate the status of other species, like the leopard," the ministry said in the statement. "The National Tiger Conservation Authority-Wildlife Institute of India(NTCA-WII) shall be reporting on several other species shortly," it added.