The Indian leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) inhabits diverse forested regions in India, Nepal, Bhutan, and parts of Pakistan.
It is listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and categorized as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN Red List.
The report “Status of Leopards in India 2022” reveals an increase in India’s estimated leopard population from 12,852 in 2018 to 13,874 in 2022.



  • Assessment Focus: The fifth cycle of leopard population assessment in 2022 targeted forested habitats across 18 tiger states, including four major tiger conservation landscapes.
  • Estimation Techniques: Utilized photo-captures combined with geographical data on prey, habitat, and human impact, applying a likelihood-based spatially explicit capture-recapture (SECR) covariate model.

Phase 1:

Sampling: Employed M-STrIPES Android apps and desktop applications for systematic sampling of wooded regions within each landscape.

Phase 2:

Data Utilization: Leveraged remotely sensed and secondary data to model leopard occupancy and abundance in response to habitat and human influence.

Phase 3:

Density Prediction: Used SECR models to estimate leopard density through camera trap data, with individual leopards identified using image and pattern processing applications CaTRACT and ExtractCompare.


  • Madhya Pradesh: Recorded the highest number of leopards in the country, increasing from 3,421 in 2018 to 3,907 in 2022.
  • Regional Distribution: Central India holds the largest population with 8,820 leopards, followed by the Western Ghats with 3,596, and Shivalik Hills and Gangetic Plains with 1,109.

Population Trends (2018-2022):

  • Overall growth in common areas: 1.08% annually.
  • Shivalik Hills and Gangetic Plains: Decrease by -3.4% annually.
  • Central India and Eastern Ghats: Increase by 1.5% annually.
  • Western Ghats: Increase by 1.0% annually.
  • North East Hills and Brahmaputra Flood Plains: Increase by 1.3% annually.

Habitat Vulnerability:

  • In Central India, 68% of the leopard population lives in human-use forests outside Protected Areas, raising risks of poaching and human-leopard conflicts.
  • In the Western Ghats, although leopard populations are stable, 65% reside outside Protected Areas.


  • Records from the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) indicate over 5,500 leopards have been poached since 1994.
  • Effective conservation strategies for the Indian leopard necessitate:
  • Habitat Restoration: Initiatives to restore and protect natural habitats.
  • Protection Beyond Protected Areas: Ensuring safety and conservation measures outside designated Protected Areas.
  • Conflict Mitigation: Implementing strategies to reduce human-leopard conflicts to ensure coexistence.
Legacy Editor Changed status to publish June 6, 2024