Panaji: The territory of leopards in the forests surrounding Goa has gone up to 1,611 sq km, according to a census report.
The census, conducted by Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) last year, results of which were announced recently, has indicated that leopards were prowling in 1,611.28 sq km of area in state`s six wildlife sanctuaries.
Goa forest department officials, who assisted WII in the census, have found that majority of the area covered by leopards is on the low altitude, that is 1,014.44 sq kms.
In all, 496.86 sq km of middle altitude area has been occupied by leopards, who are smallest of the four big cats family.
Only 99.98 sq kms of high rise areas are used by the leopards in these wildlife sanctuaries, which are dotting Goa-Karnataka border.
The census report, which was conducted after four years, says that the wildlife presence in these areas has been on the rise, bringing in cheers for the conservationists.
Close to the record of leopards, langurs have been venturing on 1518.56 sq kms of area in the wildlife sanctuaries. They are mostly found in low altitude covering 841.66 sq kms area, followed by 399.98 sq kms in the high regions.
Amongst the birds, peafowls (peacocks) are amongst the winged inhabitants occupying highest territory in these wildlife sanctuaries.
The census found the presence of peafowls in 1,295 sq kms of area, of which 592.72 sq kms is in the low regions.
While leopard is most widely distributed carnivore species in these wildlife sanctuaries, it is followed by sloth bear (837.75 sq km), jackal (568.85 sq km), wild dog (433.24 sq km), tiger (322 sq km) and hyena (100 sq kms).