Significant increase in leopard numbers

News Excerpt:

The PM expresses happiness over the increased population of Leopards(Also known as Prince of the cats) in India.

More detail about news

  • The Union Environment Ministry released a report titled Status of Leopards in India(Fifth Cycle 2022), according to which India’s estimated leopard population rose from 12,852 in 2018 to 13,874 in 2022
  • Madhya Pradesh has the maximum number of leopards in the country at 3,907 (up from 3,421 in 2018), the report said.
    • In Madhya Pradesh, the leopard occupancy increased in the Chambal and Bundelkhand regions with a marginal decline from the Chhindwara forests, adding, “Panna Tiger Reserve and Kuno National Park exhibit some of the highest leopard densities in India.
    • Nagarajunasagar Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh, Panna and Satpura in Madhya Pradesh were the tiger reserves with the highest numbers of leopards.
  • The number of felines grew from 1,690 in 2018 to 1,985 in 2022 in Maharashtra, from 1,783 to 1,879 in Karnataka, and from 868 to 1,070 in Tamil Nadu.
  • Central India shows a stable or slightly growing leopard population (8,820 in 2022 against 8,071 in 2018), the Shivalik hills and the Indo-Gangetic Plains experienced a decline (from 1,253 in 2018 to 1,109 in 2022).
  • The exercise was conducted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority(NTCA) and Wildlife Institute of India(WII), in collaboration with state forest departments.
  • The report cautioned that while leopard populations thrive in Madhya Pradesh.
    • Effective vigilance is essential to address both targeted and unintentional poaching, there is a need for the effective implementation of mitigation measures concerning linear infrastructure development projects to ensure the continued well-being of leopard populations in the region.
    • The report also showcased that the leopards were able to coexist with tigers in Madhya Pradesh as tiger reserves such as Satpura, Bandhavgarh, Pench, and Kanha also feature high leopard numbers.

About Indian leopard or common leopard:

  • Scientific Name - Panthera Pardus
  • Status - Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and included in Appendix I of CITES. 
    • Listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

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