A recent study has found that the leopard population in India has been reduced by 70-80% over the past 100 years. The study was conducted by representatives from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), the Wildlife Conservation Society and National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) over the past four years and is currently under review by wildlife journals.
Historically, leopard conversation has been connected with tigers because many leopards are housed on tiger reserves. However, reliable estimates of leopard populations in the country have not been available, so there has been little down to systematically protect them.
The study focused on various places throughout India and also cited rising incidents of big cat-human conflict as a further indicator that these animals are losing their habitat. In addition, the Project Tiger programme through the National Conservation Tiger Authority has been in place since 1973, which has resulted in poachers shifting from killing tigers to leopards.
The programme also maintains a database of tiger population numbers, but no such data exists for leopard numbers. As a result, this study could be extremely important in helping to protect leopard populations in India.