Odisha sees Sharp Increase in Leopard Population
As per the latest reports, the population of leopards in Odisha has more than doubled in the last five years. From the reported 318 in 2014, the total count is now approximately 760.
The Status of Leopards in India 2018 released by Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar indicates a 100 per cent increase in Leopard population in the state.
The survey was carried out during the all India tiger estimation 2018 to ascertain the number of leopards within forested habitats in tiger occupied states. The report revealed that the population of Leopards in Odisha is in the 727-793 range.
The growing number of these large cats could be due to their highly adaptive nature as well as a larger prey base compared to tigers. Their rate of reproduction is also higher than the tigers.
“Leopards can survive on very adverse conditions as they can live even in degraded forests,” said a senior officer.
In Odisha, these cats are found in the Rayagada-Kandhamal belt as well as in Sundargarh, Sambalpur, and parts of Angul. The Similipal and Satkosia tiger reserves are also home to a large number of leopards. As per the survey, Leopards are widely found in the forests of Central India.
Notably, Odisha has the fourth-largest population of Leopards in India. The other states where these cats are found include Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
The survey suggests that India at present has roughly 12,852 leopards as compared to 7,910 reported during the 2014 census. Madhya Pradesh tops the count with 3,421 Leopards.