At 1.08% annual growth rate, leopard population in India is 13,874: Report | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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At 1.08% annual growth rate, leopard population in India is 13,874: Report

Feb 29, 2024 12:23 PM IST

Union minister of environment, forest and climate change Bhupender Yadav while releasing the report said Project Tiger’s conservation legacy expands beyond tigers, evident in the leopard status report, showcasing broader species protection efforts

New Delhi: The Union environment ministry on Thursday released the Status of Leopards in India report, according to which there are around 13,874 leopards in the country.

Central India shows a stable or slightly growing population of leopards (Representative Photo)
Central India shows a stable or slightly growing population of leopards (Representative Photo)

With a population range of 12,616 – 15,132 individual leopards, the numbers represent a stable population in comparison to the similar area being sampled in 2018 with 12,852 (12,172-13,535) individuals, the ministry said. This estimate is based on 70% of leopard habitat.

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Central India shows a stable or slightly growing population of leopards (2018: 8071, 2022: 8820) while Shivalik hills and Gangetic plains experienced decline (2018: 1253, 2022: 1109), the report said.

“If we look at the area which was sampled both in 2018 and 2022 across India, there is a 1.08% per annum growth. In Shivalik hills and Gangetic plains, there is a -3.4% decline per annum, while the largest growth rate was in Central India and Eastern Ghats of 1.5%”, the report has said.

Union minister of environment, forest and climate change Bhupender Yadav while releasing the report said Project Tiger’s conservation legacy expands beyond tigers, evident in the leopard status report, showcasing broader species protection efforts.

He lauded the forest department’s dedicated efforts and said the report emphasizes conservation commitment beyond protected areas.

“Project Tiger’s inclusive approach underscores ecosystem interconnectedness and diverse species conservation. Under our Honourable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s guidance, this conservation journey embodies the ethos of one Earth, one family, and one Future. Congratulations to all contributors in this crucial mission,” Yadav said.

Madhya Pradesh has the largest population of leopards in the country – 3907, followed by Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Tiger Reserves or sites with the highest leopard population are, Nagarajunasagar Srisailam (Andhra Pradesh), followed by Panna (Madhya Pradesh), and Satpura (Madhya Pradesh).

The fifth cycle of leopard population estimation (2022) in India focused on forested habitats within 18 tiger states, covering four major tiger conservation landscapes. Non-forested habitats, arid, and high Himalayas above 2000 msl (~ 30% area) were not sampled for leopards.

This estimation was conducted by a foot survey spanning 6,41,449 km to estimate carnivore signs and prey abundance. Camera traps were strategically placed at 32,803 locations, resulting in a total of 4,70,81,881 photographs, resulting in 85,488 photo-captures of leopards.

The findings underscore the critical role of Protected Areas in conserving leopard populations. While tiger reserves serve as important strongholds, addressing conservation gaps outside protected areas is equally vital, the ministry said.

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