India's leopard population increased to over 12,000 in 2018 from around 8,000 in 2014, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said Monday, asserting the rise in their numbers coming on the heels of similar reports on tigers, lions, shows the country is protecting its ecology and biodiversity well.
Releasing the ‘Status of Leopards in India 2018’ report, the minister said, the leopard population has been estimated using camera trapping method.
"There were 8,000 leopards in 2014. Increase in the population of tigers, Asiatic lions and now leopards, shows how India is protecting its environment, ecology and biodiversity," he said.
As per the report, India's leopard population in 2018 was estimated at 12,852, with maximum big cats being found in Madhya Pradesh at 3,421, followed by Karnataka at 1,783 and Maharashtra 1,690.
As for region wise distribution, the highest number of 8,071 leopards were found in central India and eastern ghats, which include the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
In the western ghat region, which comprises Karnataka, Tamil Nadi, Goa and Kerala, there are 3,387 leopards while there are 1,253 leopards in Shivalik and Gangetic Plains which includes Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Bihar.
In the northeast hills, there are just 141 leopards.