Encouraging numbers in India's first leopard census

For the first time, India has conducted a census of its leopard population, with 7910 big cats recorded in the tiger habitats surveyed across the country.

A leopard in the Rajiv Gandhi Tiger Reserve, India.

A leopard in the Rajiv Gandhi Tiger Reserve, India. Image by Srikaanth Sekar / CC BY-SA 2.0

From these numbers, researchers have extrapolated the countrywide population to be at least 10,000 leopards. Despite massive habitat loss, India’s leopards have generally fared better than the country’s beleaguered tiger population because of their ability to live stealthily close to human habitation, and because leopard body parts are less sought after for Chinese medicine, the main engine driving tiger poaching in India. Read more: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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