On average, dogs make up about 40% of a Mumbai leopard’s diet. Photograph:( DNA )
Indian Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday said that the population of leopards in India has gone up by 60 per cent since the last census was undertaken in 2014
Indian Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday said that the population of leopards in India has gone up by 60 per cent since the last census was undertaken in 2014.
Even though the number of leopards has gone up, the scope of conflict between humans and leopards has also increased, which points to a worrying trend concerning leopards.
This is due to the cats being forced out of their natural habitats in the forest due to human intervention. Human projects in the region have forced the cats to venture outside their comfort regions, causing human-animal conflicts.
According to the report titled "Status of Leopard in India 2018", which was released by Javadekar, India has 12,852 leopards.
“India now has 12,852 leopards as compared to the previous estimate of 7,910 conducted in 2014. More than 60% increase in population has been recorded. The States of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra recorded the highest leopard estimates at 3,421, 1,783 and 1,690 respectively,” the report claims
“Despite their widespread distribution, leopard habitats are being increasingly fragmented, and such small fragmented areas with low wild prey densities cannot harbour a sizable population of leopards,” the report adds.
It further adds that most human-leopard conflict takes place in the hill of Shivalik-Terai region, and in parts of central India, where leopards are more commonly found. The report also suggests that developmental projects in areas with leopards become more environment-conscious.
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According to it, as leopards continue to venture into human territories, humans need to take mitigation measures around development projects to ensure leopards can continue to thrive, and so can other carnivores. This will also help preserve biodiversity in India.
India has at least 13,000 leopards, which are mostly found across prey rich areas in states like Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Karnataka.