Leopard population declining: Reports

Chitwan, May 18

The number of leopards in the country has significantly gone down in the last few years due to lack of safe habitat and shortage of food.

Various governmental and non-governmental agencies have spent a lot for the protection of leopards, but their investments have gone down the drain.

According to experts, the rare species will become extinct soon if concrete and special conservation measures are not adopted immediately. A report published by International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2012 showed Nepal had a total of 1,000 leopards. The report had also stated that the number of leopards was decreasing every year.

Studies have shown that poaching is also one of the major reasons behind the decline in the population of leopards.

Assistant conservation officer and information officer at Chitwan National Park Nurendra Aryal said leopards did not get special protection as they were not included on the list of 27 protected wild species, as per National Park and Wildlife Conservation Act 2029 BS.

“Though tigers and snow leopard are included on the protection list, leopards are not included,” said Aryal. The leopard, which is available at an altitude of 3,000 metre, feeds on flies, insects, mice, frogs and deer. Approximate weight of a male leopard ranges from 30 kg to 70 kg while a female leopard weighs from 28 kg to 60 kg.

Dr Ashish Gurung at National Nature Conservation Trust, Sauraha, who is concerned about the protection of leopard, also said that the population of leopards was decreasing. “If necessary action is not taken at the earliest for the protection of the leopard, it will become extinct from the country,” regretted Gurung, adding, “The way the government has taken initiatives for the protection of the tiger, the government has to take similar initiatives to protect the leopard,” he added.