INDIA'S LEOPARD POPULATION  (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     1st March 2024        

Context: The Prime Minister of India expressed his happiness over increased population of Leopards in India.

India's Leopard Population 

  • Overall Leopard Population: India's estimated leopard population rose from 12,852 in 2018 to 13,874 in 2022, reflecting a positive trend in conservation efforts.
  • Highest Numbers: Madhya Pradesh has the maximum number of leopards in the country, with 3,907 recorded in 2022, up from 3,421 in 2018.
  • Numbers Across States: Maharashtra witnessed an increase from 1,690 leopards in 2018 to 1,985 in 2022.

oKarnataka saw a rise from 1,783 to 1,879 leopards during the same period.

oTamil Nadu experienced growth from 868 to 1,070 leopards.

  • Regional Population Trends: Central India demonstrated a stable or slightly growing leopard population, reaching 8,820 in 2022 compared to 8,071 in 2018.
  • However, the Shivalik hills and the Indo-Gangetic Plains experienced a decline from 1,253 in 2018 to 1,109 in 2022.
  • Leopard Distribution: In Madhya Pradesh, leopard occupancy increased in the Chambal and Bundelkhand regions but slightly declined in the Chhindwara forests.

oPanna Tiger Reserve and Kuno National Park exhibit high leopard densities, contributing significantly to the state's leopard population.

  • Conservation Challenges: Effective vigilance is crucial to address both targeted and unintentional poaching in Madhya Pradesh.
  • The coexistence of leopards and tigers in Madhya Pradesh, particularly in tiger reserves like Satpura, Bandhavgarh, Pench, and Kanha, underscores successful conservation strategies.

Indian Leopard

  • About: The Indian leopard thrives in diverse habitats, including tropical rainforests, temperate deciduous forests, alpine coniferous forests, dry scrubs, and grasslands.
  • Habitat: In India, the leopard is found in all forest types, from tropical rainforests to temperate deciduous and alpine coniferous forests.
  • Distribution Patterns: Central India and the Eastern Ghats.
  • Conservation Status:

oIUCN Red List: Vulnerable

oCITES: Appendix I

oWildlife (Protection) Act,1972: Schedule I