The India Leopard

(Panthera pardus fusca)

 

Size:

body 4.25 to 6.25 ft., tail, 3.5 to 4.5 and 100- 200 pounds

Lifespan:

Between 12 and 17 years

Wild  Population:

About 11,000 and declining

Family life and  Breeding:

Solitary, but you may see mom with her cubs

Habitat:

Forests and in the trees

How do they  move:

Stalk on the ground and relax in the trees

What do they  eat:

Other animals like boar and deer

Closest  relatives:

Big cats like the tiger

Tie to humans:

They are culturally important in India and have made their way into myths, stories, and artwork

photo M Noonan

Cool fact:

Most leopards are light colored with distinctive dark spots that are called rosettes that look like black roses on golden-tan fur. There are also black leopards, which appear to be almost solid black, but actually show these spots in the sunlight.  These leopards are known as black panthers, but are actually the same species, just with different coloring.

Conservation status:

Loss of habitat is a huge problem for the leopard in India because they have nowhere to live and they sometimes wander into cities and towns.  They also eat other animals so, hunting and habitat loss has made their prey scarce.  People also poach the leopard for their fur. All of these are leading to a decrease in Indian leopards.

What is being done now?

Places like Kaziranga National Wildlife Park serve as important havens for this beautiful cat and are protected by armed men who follow strict anti-poaching rules and protect these vital resources for the leopard and all of the other Indian species that call it home.  Efforts have been made by the Forest Department in India to relocate leopards that find their way into villages!

What should be done in the future?

More land should be set aside for the leopard and when they wander into cities people should put them back in the forest, not kill them or put them in a cage.  We need to make sure that the leopard has a place to live!

 

CAC is a program of the Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.