Scientists document 75-90% decline in leopard population in India

Bengaluru: Leopard population, in India, has registered an alarming 75- 90 percent decline and the big cat requires similar protection on the lines of tiger conservation in the country, according to a study.

The study used leopards’ genetic data, samples of which were collected from across the Indian subcontinent, for investigating the species population structure and various patterns of demographic decline.

During the study, the scientists examined the demographic history of each of the identified subpopulations and then compared the genetic decline analyses with the probabilities of countrywide local extinction.The research was jointly conducted by the scientists from the Wildlife Institute of India and the Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS India). The team of scientists included Dr. Krithi K Karanth from CWS India and Suvankar Biswas, Supriya Bhatt, Dr. Samrat Mondol and Dr. Bivash Panday from the Wildlife Institute of India. The scientists after gathered faecal samples and then used a panel of 13 microsatellite markers and identified 56 unique leopard individuals. Then, the obtained data was merged with the already available data of 143 individuals.

“Coalescent simulations with microsatellite loci revealed, across India, a possibly human-induced 7590 percent population decline between approximately 120200 years ago,” the study said, reported the news agency PTI.

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