Sharing this story that was published in Times of India.
Over 130 leopards killed this year: Report
TNN, Sep 18, 2010, 02.46am IST
LUCKNOW: The leopard deaths are continuing in the country. The anti-poaching cell of Uttarakhand forest department seized two leopard skins on Wednesday night from Chakrata in Dehradun district. There have been about 130 leopard deaths so far this year. Most of them have been reported from Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
The Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), the agency helping forest departments in UP and Uttarakhand in seizures and wildlife crime cases, estimates 81 leopard deaths from Uttarakhand alone this year. The agency's database also shows over 35 leopards reportedly killed by poachers. According to the figures released by the ministry of environment and forest ( MoEF) in 2008, the country did not have more than 11,000 leopards. The number is constantly going down. "Leopards live on the periphery of forests and that makes them more vulnerable," said a UP forest official.
Leopard conservation in the country is more or less clubbed with that of tigers, as quite a big number of leopards exist in tiger reserves. But no effort has been made to go for a leopard census to arrive at an exact number existing within and outside the protected areas. Conservationists feel this has affected the systematic protection of leopards.
Leopard faces the severest backlash from humans and grave threat from poachers. The declining prey base and shrinking habitat forces the big cat to venture out of the forest area. When it attacks humans and livestock, it faces a backlash. The experts are of the view that ill-will that rises in the human communities in and around forest areas, after leopard attacks them or their cattle, supports poaching and poisoning of leopards.
Leopard is a versatile cat which is not selective about its habitat. Maximum number of leopards are found in UP, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Meanwhile, Uttarakhand forest department also seized a leopard cat skin and a Himalayan black bear gall bladder.
The source article can be found here: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/h...ow/6576183.cms