Leopard population in India rises by 8% but faces a decline in northern regions

Leopards population rises

New Delhi: A new report by the Union Environment Ministry has revealed that the estimated number of leopards in India has risen by 8% in four years, from 12,852 in 2018 to 13,874 in 2022. The report, titled “Status of Leopards in India”, was released by Union Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav on Thursday, and is based on a nationwide leopard estimation exercise conducted in 2022.

According to the report, Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of leopards in the country, with 3,907 individuals, followed by Maharashtra with 1,985, Karnataka with 1,879, and Tamil Nadu with 1,070. These four states account for more than half of the total leopard population in India. The report also states that the leopard population in central India is stable or slightly increasing, with 8,820 leopards in 2022 compared to 8,071 in 2018.

However, the report also highlights the worrying trend of leopard decline in the Shivalik Hills and the plains of North India, where the number of leopards has dropped from 1,253 in 2018 to 1,109 in 2022. The report attributes this decline to habitat loss, fragmentation, poaching, and human-leopard conflict. The report says that the leopard population in this region has declined at the rate of 3.4 percent per year, and calls for urgent conservation measures to protect the species.

Leopards population rises

The report also provides information on the distribution, habitat, prey, and threats of leopards in India, and suggests best practices for leopard management and monitoring. The report is a result of a collaborative effort between the Wildlife Institute of India, the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the State Forest Departments, and other stakeholders. The report is expected to help in formulating effective policies and strategies for leopard conservation in India.