The state of Karnataka now has the second-largest number of leopards in the country. With around 1783 smaller wild cats in the wild, the state is followed by Maharashtra that houses 1,690 leopards. However, Madhya Pradesh has the highest population of the smaller big cats, nearly double the population of Karnataka, around 3421.
According to the Wildlife Institute of India's report Status of Leopards, Co-predators, and Megaherbivores in India, 2018, there are 12,852 leopards dispersed across tiger reserves. The report was released in the last week of July in New Delhi. Camera traps were used to estimate the leopard population.
The Kali Tiger region which comprises the Dandeli and Anashi tiger areas have recorded 221 leopards. Known as the largest tiger reserve of Karnataka, the area has around 23-25 tigers. There are a large number of melanistic leopards also known as black panthers that are seen in the area. These have now been counted in the leopard population.
As opposed to tigers, leopards are very adaptive and are spread across the reserve. The tiger reserves at Bandipur and Nagarhole have recorded a large number of leopards as well. The report also demonstrates how these large cats that have been spotted in the tea and coffee estates adapt to their surroundings. Leopards have also been discovered in Ramanagara's fragmented forests, as well as Bengaluru's urban and rural areas. The ground staff of the Kali reserve has been given credit by the officials for the increase in the Leopard population. The reserve features one of the most challenging terrains among the state's tiger regions. It also borders the Goa wildlife sanctuaries of Bhimgad and Bhagwan Mahavir.
Dr. Vidya Athreya of the Wildlife conservation society said that it was good that leopards got attention as they really deserved it. She also added that the focus must be on leopards who share space with humans, as well as on the significance of proactive conflict resolution strategies.
Camera traps were set up in 26,838 places across India, yielding 34,858,623 photos of animals, 51,777 of which were of leopards. There were a total of 5,240 adult leopards were photographed.
The total leopard population in India's tiger range landscape was estimated to be 12,852.
In Karnataka, a total of 26 sites were camera trapped, yielding 3,564 photo grabs of 836 adult leopards.