Found in more than 60 countries but possibly having vanished in over 20, the leopard remains the most widespread of the big cats however the species is under constant threat through most of its range.
The leopard (also known as forest leopard and common leopard) – Scientific Name Panthera pardus – Conservation Status VULNERABLE with a decreasing population globally.
The Indian Leopard is currently our focus species: Panthera pardus fusca – Conservation Status VULNERABLE. The Indian Leopard is native to the Indian sub-continent where it is found in the following countries: Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Taking data from population census and estimates there could be as many as 20,000 leopards in the region although that figure is probably at the upper level. Threats to the Indian leopard are explained in Snapshot while below is an overview of this sub-species.
The Indian leopard has muscular torso with short, strong legs. Their eyes are yellowish grey with light grey ocular bulbs. It’s spots fade towards the underbelly and the lower part of the legs. Its rossettes (spots) are the most prominent among all leopard subspecies of Asia.
Its fur colour varies as per geography. They are more pale in arid regions, gray in colder climates and golden in colour in rainforests.
The Indian Leopard is solitary and usually more active at night. It is skilled in climbing trees from where it rests, observes its area and feasts on its prey. Along with being a good swimmer, the leopard can run at the speed of 58 kms per hour and jump up to 3 m vertically.
Where tiger populations are high, leopards are not commonly found. This is due to the fact that the tiger becomes the apex predator in the region driving leopards off to locations with the least tiger population, at times near human settlements. Examples of this are Nepal’s Bardia National Park and India’s Sariska Tiger Reserve
In Gujarat’s Gir National Park, the Indian leopard coexists with the Asiatic lion. In the Himalayas, it also exists along with the snow leopard up to an altitude of 5,200 m (17,100 ft), but the leopard usually prefers forested habitats located at lower altitudes compared to the snow leopard.
Other Leopard Sub Species:
African Leopard: Panthera pardus pardus – Conservation Status VULNERABLE
Amur Leopard: Panthera pardus orientalis – Conservation Status CRITICALLY ENDANGERED
Arabian Leopard: Panthera pardus nimr – Conservation Status CRITICALLY ENDANGERED
Indochinese Leopard: Panthera pardus delacouri – Conservation Status CRITICALLY ENDANGERED
Javan Leopard: Panthera pardus melas – Conservation Status ENDANGERED. Found only on the island of Java, Indonesia.
North China Leopard (also known as the China Leopard): Panthera pardus japonensis – Conservation Status CRITICALLY ENDANGERED (TBR).
Persian Leopard: Panthera pardus tulliana – Conservation Status ENDANGERED
Sri Lankan Leopard: Panthera pardus orientalis – Conservation Status VULNERABLE. Found only on the island nation of Sri Lanka.
Please read Snapshot to gain understanding of threats to the leopard. WildTiger currently has a focus on reducing trade in body parts of the Indian Leopard and is working in collaboration with relevant authorities and organizations. This page will be added to later in 2022 with further content to give greater understanding, part of our emphasis on Mission Leopard during this current Year of the Tiger.