Leopards

indian-leopard

The distribution of leopard is from the Indus River in the west, and the Himalayas in the north. In the Himalayas they are sympatric with snow leopards up to 5,200 metres (17,100 ft) above sea level. The trend of the population is decreasing. They are becoming increasingly rare outside protected areas.

Male leopards grow to between 4 ft 2 in (127 cm) and 4 ft 8 in (142 cm) in body size with a 2 ft 6 in (76 cm) to 3 ft (91 cm) long tail and weigh between 110 and 170 lb (50 and 77 kg). Females are smaller growing to between 3 ft 5 in (104 cm) and 3 ft 10 in (117 cm) in body size with a 2 ft 6 in (76 cm) to 2 ft 10.5 in (87.6 cm) in long tail and weight between 64 and 75 lb (29 and 34 kg).

Leopards are threatened by loss of habitat and fragmentation of formerly connected populations, various levels of human–leopard conflict in human–dominated landscapes, and competition with other predators. Expansion of agriculturally used land, encroachment of humans and their livestock into protected areas are main factors contributing to habitat loss and decrease of wild prey. As a result, leopards approach human settlements, where they are tempted to prey on domestic livestock. Human–leopard conflict situations ensue, and have increased in recent years. In retaliation for attacks on livestock, leopards are shot, poisoned and trapped in brutal snares. Leopards share their habitats with Asiatic lions, Bengal tigers, Asiatic Black Bears and sloth bears, wolves, Striped hyenas and wild dogs. These animals may kill leopard cubs given a chance. Lions and tigers may even attack a full-grown leopard.

Leopard used under CC BY / Desaturated from original

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