Leopard

20542-Leopard-Gif

  • Scientific name- Panthera pardus fusca
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature classification: Near threatened
  • Estimated population in India: 12,000 to 14,000

Protection:

  • Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972;
  • included in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which prevents trade of leopard parts

In Karnataka

  • Leopards found in 70 of the 175 taluks of the State
  • Range estimated to be 84,000 sq. km or 47 per cent of the State’s area
  • Breeding has been observed in nearly 18 taluks

Hotspots:

  • Along the Western Ghats, south Karnataka, Tumakuru, and Ramanagaram

Man-leopard ‘interaction’

  • At least 223 leopard-related incidents (attack on human beings or livestock, leopard deaths or sightings) reported in 14 months
  • 83 per cent of reported conflict involves attack on livestock
  • 56 leopards captured and shifted in this period
  • 32 people attacked by leopards; three died of injuries

Period of examination:

  • 14 months (March 2013 to April 2014)

Source: Study, ‘Spotted in the News: Using Media Reports to Examine Leopard Distribution, Depredation, and Management Practices outside Protected Areas in Southern India” by Vidya Athreya, Arjun Srivathsa, Mahi Puri, Krithi K. Karanth, N. Samba Kumar, and K. Ullas Karanth

Currently in news

  • In perhaps the most stark evidence of the ability of man and animal living in relative harmony, researchers have tabulated that leopards occupy around 84,000 sq. km (or 47 per cent of the State’s area) outside protected forest areas in the State.
  • They were found in 70 taluks of the 175 in the State; with leopard “attacks” being reported in 51 taluks.
  • Interestingly, leopard cubs were spotted in 18 taluks, which indicates an “active, breeding” population of the feline thriving amid agricultural land. This indicates that leopards and other wild animals can live close to human being without serious conflict if we proactively deal with their presence
  • The researchers were also critical of the current “expensive” approach of relocating leopard found “strayed” in human areas — for, in many cases, “relocated” leopards returned to their original spot within three months. Aggressive removal of these creatures was, in fact, observed to increase the attacks on livestock.
  • Further they said there’s a need to stop the reactionary measures. There’s a need to start helping people through livestock sheds and precautions
  • The researchers have found a correlation between districts with high population of stray dogs reporting higher leopard population; while livestock seemed not to aid in thriving leopard population. Dogs, it is estimated, account for nearly 40 per cent of a leopard’s diet.
  • This shows that leopards occur across large parts of the State and can live close to human beings without serious conflict if we proactively deal with their presence. Making people aware of them and helping them reduce livestock losses can go a long way
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