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India’s Leopard population rises over 60% since 2014 to 12,852

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India’s leopard population has increased to over 12,000 in 2018 from around 8,000 in 2014, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Monday, while releasing a government report.

“Happy to announce that, India now has 12,852 leopards,” Javadekar tweeted. “More than 60% increase in population has been recorded over the previous estimate which was conducted in 2014.”

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He also mentioned the states which have the highest number of leopards.

“India’s world record tiger survey also estimated the population of leopards and the tiger range was found home to 12,852 (12,172-13,535) leopards. They occur in prey rich protected areas as well as multi-use forests. A total of 5,240 adult individual leopards were identified in a total of 51,337 leopard photographs using pattern recognition software. Statistical analysis estimates the leopard population at – 12,800 leopards within the tiger’s range,” said a statement issued by ministry of environment, forest and climate change.

The ministry claimed that the tiger has not only served as an umbrella species but even its monitoring has helped evaluate the status of other species, like the leopard. 

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Leopards are among the most adaptable carnivores, and are known to exist very close to human habitations.

A study earlier this year had found four distinct sub-populations of leopards in India with high genetic variations – leopards of the Western Ghats, the Deccan Plateau semi-arid region, the Shivalik mountains, and the Terai region in North India.

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