Biodiversity & Environment
Rise in Leopard Population
- 22 Dec 2020
- 3 min read
Why in News
As per a recent report ‘Status of leopards in India, 2018’ released by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change there has been a “60% increase in the population count of leopards in India from 2014 estimates’’.
- The 2014 estimates placed the population of leopards at nearly 8,000 which has increased to 12,852.
- The largest number of leopards have been estimated in Madhya Pradesh (3,421) followed by Karnataka (1,783) and Maharashtra (1,690).
- Region wise distribution:
- Central India and Eastern Ghats have the highest number of leopards at 8,071.
- Western Ghats: 3,387 leopards
- Shivalik and Gangetic Plains: 1,253 leopards
- Northeast hills: 141 leopards
- While the estimated number of leopards has increased, the report alerts that the leopard habitat area has been shrinking alarmingly over the past 100-125 years.
- Techniques Used:
- Camera Traps
- Satellite Imaging
- Field work by the Wildlife Institute of India and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
- Limited Coverage:
- While the presence of the leopard is fairly ubiquitous, the study has been conducted only in tiger- populated forests areas under Project Tiger.
- Leopard populations in other agricultural, non-forested areas like tea and coffee plantations, and in most parts of the North East have not been conducted.
- Threats to Leopard:
- Fragmentation of forests as well as the decline in quality of forests leading to habitat loss.
- Human-Leopard conflict
- Depletion of natural prey base
- Conservation Status:
- International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN): Vulnerable
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): Appendix I
- Appendix I:
- It lists species that are the most endangered among CITES-listed animals and plants.
- Appendix I:
- Wildlife Protection Act 1972: Schedule 1
- Schedule I and part II of Schedule II provide absolute protection to threatened species. Offences under these are prescribed the highest penalties.
Wildlife Institute of India
- Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
- It was established in 1982.
- It is based in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
- It offers training programs, academic courses, and advisory in wildlife research and management.
National Tiger Conservation Authority
- National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
- It was established in 2005 following the recommendations of the Tiger Task Force.
- It was constituted under enabling provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006, for strengthening tiger conservation, as per powers and functions assigned to it.