Like tigers, endangered leopards too are battling for survival with as many as 160 already dead so far, since this January in the country, against 290 last year.
The trend is not recent phenomenon. In the last 12 years since 1994, India has lost at least 3,189 leopards, according to an estimate by an NGO, Wildlife Protection of India (WPSI).
A member of the Felidae family and the smallest of the four “big cats” in the genus Panthera, the other three being the tiger, lion and jaguar, the leopard count is estimated to be between 7,000 to 10,000 in the country.
In India, the leopard is protected under Schedule-I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
“Also, as it is easy to trap leopards, the wildlife smugglers find them as perfect replacement for tigers to feed the illicit global demand for big cat skins along with the bones for use in traditional medicine in countries like China,” says WPSI head Belinda Wright.