Madhya Pradesh may retain the coveted tag of being the ‘Leopard State’ for the second consecutive term. The Centre will make a declaration on awarding the coveted title on Tigers Day to be observed on Wednesday.
With 1,817 leopards (as per 2015 census) Madhya Pradesh is on the top of the list followed Karnataka with 1129 count. Maharashtra then had 905 and Chhattisgarh 846 leopards.
Madhya Pradesh already has the coveted status of being the ‘Tiger State’ of the country reporting 526 stripped big cats as per 2019 census. Besides, the home state proudly won the title of Ghariyal state (2020) with 1876 crocodiles. In 2014-15, the state had bagged the Leopard state title and once again is staking claim to the tag.
Sources at the forest department claimed that the leopard count in the state has gone over 2,500. The leopard count is estimated every four years.
After regaining the ‘Tiger State’ tag last year, it would be a proud achievement for the state if it retains the status of being ‘Leopard State’ as well for the second consecutive term.
Additional Principal Chief Conservators of Forests (APCCF) JS Chauhan said, “It will be a great moment for the forest department if Madhya Pradesh retains bags the ‘Leopard State’ for the second time. Last time (2015), the state had reported 1,817 leopards – the highest count and got the coveted tag, we are quite hopeful that we will retain the status this time too,” said Chauhan.
However, the official said that the growing population of big cats in the state has also led to rising torrential fights and human–animal conflicts. The incidents of big cats entering into human habitat and attacking people are increasing and the teams of the forest department are on toes to check such incidents, said the Chauhan. To maintain the tag with increasing animal population, the department needs more experts and better infrastructure, he added.