Leopards, bears' population rise by 18.62%, 8.41%
Times of India
The three-day wildlife census revealed that the population of sloth bears and leopards has increased by 18.62% and 8.41% respectively during a five-year period.
Releasing the data on Monday of the census that concluded on May 18, S K Nanda, principal secretary, forest and environment, said that there were 1,160 leopards in the state with the highest density being in Junagadh district which has 385 leopards.
In the last census in 2006, there were 310 leopards in Junagadh district. Amreli district, which has the third highest density, has 105 leopards now.
Nanda said there were 445 leopards in the four national parks and 22 sanctuaries, 508 in the forest areas, while the remaining were found close to human habitations.
Saurashtra-Kutch region has 565 leopards which is 48% of the total population in the state.
Forest officials said that the four national parks and 22 sanctuaries saw an increase of 85 leopards, while the forest area (other then these national parks and sanctuaries) saw a drop of nearly 55 leopards.
The officials said that of the 26 districts, the presence of leopards was found in 20 districts. However, they said, it cannot be said that the remaining six districts do not have leopard population at all. It has been revealed that the leopards have visited adjoining non-leopard districts occasionally.
The census data also revealed that five districts — Junagadh, Amreli, Dahod, Vadodara and Panchmahals — have a population of 70% leopards.
About the sloth bear, the officials said that the presence of sloth bear was found only in seven districts. Of these, there was only one sloth bear in Mehsana and 11 in Panchamahals, while the remaining were found in Banaskantha, Dahod, Narmada, Sabarkantha and Vadodara districts.
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