New Delhi: For the first time India finally has got a count of its spotted big cat - the leopard.
As per a Times of India report, the first ever leopard census in India, carried out alongside the tiger census last year, has put the population of the species at 7,910 in and around tiger habitats.
“There are leopards outside the areas we covered. Based on these numbers, we estimate India's total leopard population to be in the range of 12,000 to 14,000,“ Yadvendradev V Jhala, lead scientist of the tiger census, who presented the leopard figures at Wildlife Institute of India's annual research seminar in Dehradun last week, was quoted as saying to the newspaper.
For the count, experts used the same methods adopted for the tiger census.
Earlier, the total number of leopards were guesstimated to be anywhere between 10,000 and 45,000 in the country.
The study found the species well distributed across the country, indicating that India's leopard population is 'quite healthy'.
Madhya Pradesh emerged as the top leopard state in the country, with an estimated population of 1,817, followed by Karnataka (1,129), Maharashtra (905), Chhattisgarh (846) and Tamil Nadu (815), states the report.
However, Gujarat, parts of Rajasthan and east India, and the entire northeast were not included in the official estimation.