Indian leopard


The Life of Animals | Indian leopard | The Indian leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) is a leopard subspecies widely distributed on the Indian subcontinent. It is one of the five big cats found in India, apart from Asiatic lion, Bengal tiger, snow leopard and clouded leopard. In 1794, Friedrich Albrecht Anton Meyer wrote the first description of Felis fusca, in which he gave account of a panther-like cat from Bengal of about 85.5 cm (33.7 in), with strong legs and a long well-formed tail, head as big as a panther’s, broad muzzle, short ears and small, yellowish grey eyes, light grey ocular bulbs; black at first sight, but on closer examination dark brown with circular darker coloured spots, tinged pale red underneath.

Indian leopards are distributed all over India, in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and parts of Pakistan. They inhabit tropical rain forests, dry deciduous forests, temperate forests and northern coniferous forests up to an altitude of 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) above sea level, bordering snow leopard habitat. A significant immediate threat to wild leopard populations is the illegal trade in poached skins and body parts between India, Nepal and China. Buyers choose the skins from dealers or tanneries and smuggle them through a complex interlinking network to markets outside India, mainly in China  Seized skins in Kathmandu confirm the city's role as a key staging point for illegal skins smuggled from India bound for Tibet and China.

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. Leopards succeed in co-existing with tigers, but are not common in habitat where tiger density is high.

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