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Maharashtra leopard, Maharashtra population, Indias leopard population, leoparD numners increase, indian express news


The fifth cycle of leopard population estimation which was published on Thursday showed that Maharashtra has seen the number of leopards increase from 1,690 in 2018 to 1,985 in 2022. The state also has the second highest number of leopards after Madhya Pradesh and accounts for 14 per cent of India’s leopard population.
The overall population of leopards in India has also shown an increase with the numbers going from 12,852 in 2018 to 13,874 now. The survey for the leopards was carried out in 2022 and the report was published on Thursday.

Madhya Pradesh, which has the highest number of leopards in India, is now home to 3,907 leopards and has also seen a rise in leopard numbers by 12% from 2018.

The report was published by Bhupender Yadav, Union minister of environment, forest and climate change.

According to the report, Maharashtra is classified under the central India and eastern ghats region of India. Of the state’s total leopard population of 1,985, the Melghat tiger reserve houses the highest leopard population in the state at 233, followed by 148 in Tadoba, 140 in Navegaon, 135 in Sahyadri, and 102 in Pench.
“The site-wise leopard population is higher in Nagarjunasagar Srisailam, Panna, Sariska, Satpura, Melghat and Kanha Tiger Reserves.

The leopard densities are higher in the tiger reserves compared to outside protected areas, despite the fact that tigers exert regulatory pressure on leopards. Efforts regarding prey recovery and protection need to be strategized and at the same time conflict resolution mechanisms need to be evaluated to timely mitigate issues of human-leopard interface,” the report stated.

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Virendra Tiwari, director of Wildlife Institute of India (WII), which carried out this survey, said the survey is a subset of the national tiger estimation report.
“This survey was carried out only on the areas where there is both tiger and leopard population, which is 70% of the total areas that are occupied by leopards. There are many areas that are not taken into assessment in this survey, for example, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park or areas in Haryana, which have only leopards. Therefore, if we include these places as well, then the overall leopard population would rise further,” Tiwari told Express.

The report also showed that several states including Uttarakhand, Kerala, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Goa have shown a dip in leopard population. “In Maharashtra, there has been an increase in the overall numbers since the state government along with the forest department has been able to control poaching-related activities and also able to keep a check on man-animal conflicts by educating people staying close to forest areas,” he said.

Pawan Sharma, honorary wildlife warden of Mumbai, and founder of Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW) said that while the population of leopards are increasing, there is also a possibility of having more human-animal interactions in the future. “Since the population is increasing, the possibility of human-animal interactions like leopard sightings may also increase by a margin. Therefore, more awareness needs to be raised so that these interactions don’t get converted into man-animal conflicts,” Sharma told Express.





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