Leopard population better than tigers: Census

India's total leopard population estimated to range between 12,000 to 14,000.
Leopard population better than tigers: Census
Leopard population better than tigers: Census
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The first ever leopard census in India, which had been conducted alongside the tiger census last year, has pegged the population of the species at 7,910, states a report in The Times of India

However, Gujarat, parts of Rajasthan and east India, and the entire northeast were not included in the official count. 

“There are leopards outside the areas we covered. Based on these numbers, we estimate India's total leopard population to be in the range of 12,000 to 14,000,“ the newspaper quotes Yadvendradev V Jhala, lead scientist of the tiger census, as saying. Stating leopards were doing better than tigers, Jhala added, “Most of the leopard populations are contiguous, ensuring a healthy genetic exchange. So, leopards do not face the problems of isolated populations that plague Indian tigers,“ Jhala told TOI.

Last week, Jhala presented the leopard census figures at Wildlife Institute of India's annual research seminar in Dehradun. Since there are no previous estimates the number of leopards in the country, it would be difficult to state whether their numbers have increased or fallen, he said. 

The study found that the species was well distributed across the country, and that the leopard population in India is “quite healthy“, mentions the report. Earlier, the population of leopards in the country were estimated to be between 10,000 and 45,000.

The method used for counting the number of spotted cats included getting their pictures through camera-tapping along with collecting other evidence of their presence and then extrapolating the numbers to cover the entire forest, adds the report. 

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