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TRAFFIC Report on Leopard Poaching in India

TRAFFIC Report on Leopard Poaching in India

Context:

A recent study by TRAFFIC India on the seizure and mortality of ‘common leopards’ revealed that 596 leopard deaths between 2015-2019 in India, were linked to illegal wildlife trade and activities related to poaching.

Key findings:

  • The records indicated that 140 leopards were killed by poachers and their carcasses were recovered from the forest areas.
  • Whereas body parts belonging to the equivalent of 456 leopards were seized during various operations by law enforcement agencies during the study period.
  • Highest numbers of poaching incidents in Uttarakhand and Maharashtra.
  • The paper titled ‘‘SPOTTED’ in Illegal Wildlife Trade: A Peek into Ongoing Poaching and Illegal Trade of Leopards in India’ also highlighted that the highest numbers of poaching incidents were reported from the States of Uttarakhand and Maharashtra.

Demand for skin 

  • It accounted for 69% of all seizures, while derivatives like claws, teeth, and bones were also traded. 
  • It is also believed that bones of the leopard are possibly traded as tiger bones as they have a larger international demand for traditional medicines.
  • Leopards are threatened by increasing habitat destruction and human-wildlife conflict around the country arising out of shrinking habitats and illegal trade.

Indian Leopard:

  • It is one of the big cats occurring on the Indian subcontinent, apart from the Asiatic lion, Bengal tiger, snow leopard, and clouded leopard.
  • Scientific Name: Panthera pardus.
  • Habitat: In India, it is found in tropical rainforests, temperate deciduous and alpine coniferous forests. It is also found in dry scrubs and grasslands. It is not found in the desert and the mangroves of Sundarbans.

Protection status:

  • Listed on a par with Tigers under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972.
  • Listed in Appendix I of CITES.
  • IUCN: Vulnerable

TRAFFIC: The Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network

  • It was established in 1976 as a leading non-governmental organization working on wildlife trade in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
  • It is a joint program of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • Objective: To ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature.
  • Headquarter: Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Source: The Hindu