Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Leopards under threat in India

Numbers of leopards being killed in India looks to be increasing according to the newest report issued by Wildlife Protection Society of India. In 2008 there are more than 140 leopards becoming victims of poaching, mostly because of leopard skin that serves for various decorative purposes. Leopards are becoming "hot merchandise" among poachers because it is getting much harder to catch tigers (favorite prey of poachers) as tiger population is in constant decline. Leopards are much easier to catch than tigers because tiger population is below 1500 individuals while there are somewhere about 10000 to 20000 leopards in India. Also tigers have their usual habitats deep in the jungle while leopards are more adaptable, sometimes they even have their habitats close to human settlements which makes them easy hunting targets.

Leopards in India are becoming "hot merchandise" among poachers

Poachers are not the only ones killing leopards, there are also farmers that kill leopards because due to habitat loss leopards often attack livestock which doesn't get well with farmers, especially since it takes ages for farmers to receive compensation, and many farmers therefore decide to take matter into their own hands. Because of this there has been many cases of poisonings in many India's villages.

It is difficult for humans and animals to co-exist because they both need territory which results in conflict where animals are usual the ones that suffer. If this problem of constant habitat loss for big cats in India continues, leopards could very soon join tigers on endangered animals list. Government really needs to react very soon. Why not start with something like
buffer zones in which humans and animals could peacefully co-exist?

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