Indian leopard

Indian leopard

#GS 03 Biodiversity Conservation

For Prelims

Indian leopard

  • Leopard is the smallest of the Big Cats belonging to the genus Panthera, which includes the Tiger, Leopard, Jaguar, Lion, and Snow Leopard.
  • However, they are the most adaptive amongst its family with an ability to cope with a variety of habitats.
  • It is a nocturnal animal that hunts at night and eats smaller herbivores like the chital, hog deer, and wild boar that live in its range.
  • Leopards often suffer from melanism in case of which the animal’s entire skin, including its spots, turns black.
  • A melanistic leopard is commonly misidentified as a distinct species called black panther or as a jaguar.

Population and Habitat of Leopards

  • The leopard is found in all forest types in India, from alpine coniferous forests in the north to temperate deciduous and tropical rainforests in the south.
  • However, the highest number of 8,071 leopards are found in central India and the Eastern Ghats.
  • The leopard population was estimated to be approximately 8,000 in 2014, but has since grown to 12,852 by 2018.
  • The loss of habitat due to encroachment and rising urbanisation has increased the instances of man-wildlife conflict in case of leopards.

Conservation Status

  • Scientific Name: Panthera pardus fusca
  • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act,1972: Schedule I

Source “Forest Department steps up patrolling after leopards were spotted at Kottiyoor in Kerala

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