Indian leopard

Panthera pardus fusca

The Indian leopard is a leopard subspecies widely distributed on the Indian subcontinent and classified as ''Near Threatened'' by IUCN since 2008. The species ''Panthera pardus'' may soon qualify for the ''Vulnerable'' status due to habitat loss and fragmentation, heavy poaching for the illegal trade of skins and body parts in Asia, and persecution due to conflict situations. They are becoming increasingly rare outside protected areas. The trend of the population is decreasing.

The Indian leopard is one of the five big cats found in India, apart from Asiatic lion, Bengal tiger, snow leopard and clouded leopard.
The yawn This was a case of patience pays off...  I waited around for 30 mins for the leopard to move, and when it finally did, it was worth the wait! :)  Geotagged,India,Indian leopard,Panthera pardus fusca,Summer

Appearance

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 , 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.

Male Indian leopards grow to between 4 ft 2 in and 4 ft 8 in in body size with a 2 ft 6 in to 3 ft long tail and weigh between 110 and 170 lb . Females are smaller growing to between 3 ft 5 in and 3 ft 10 in in body size with a 2 ft 6 in to 2 ft 10.5 in in long tail and weight between 64 and 75 lb .
Stare... One for the photographers... Indian leopard,Panthera pardus fusca

Distribution

On the Indian subcontinent, topographical barriers to the dispersal of this subspecies are the Indus River in the west, and the Himalayas in the north. In the east, the lower course of the Brahmaputra and the Ganges Delta form natural barriers to the distribution of the Indochinese leopard. Indian leopards are distributed all over India, in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and parts of Pakistan. In the Himalayas they are sympatric with snow leopards up to 5,200 metres above sea level. They inhabit tropical rain forests, dry deciduous forests, temperate forests and northern coniferous forests but do not occur in the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans.
Black Panther aka melanistic leopard Dream sighting and lucky enough to shoot too! What a weekend in the jungle...  this image is 24 hours old! :)

Due to a mutation in the melanin gene, these leopards have Melanism, a development of the dark-colored pigment melanin in the skin or its appendages and is the opposite of albinism. Historically, it was also the medical term for black jaundice [wiki]. Geotagged,India,Indian leopard,Panthera pardus fusca,Spring

Status

''Panthera pardus'' is listed in CITES Appendix I.

Despite India and Nepal being contracting parties to CITES, national legislation of both countries does not incorporate and address the spirit and concerns of CITES. Trained human resources, basic facilities and effective networks for control of poaching and trade in wildlife are lacking.

Frederick Walter Champion was one of the first in India who after World War I advocated for the conservation of leopards, condemned sport hunting and recognised their key role in the ecosystem. Billy Arjan Singh championed their cause since the early 1970s.
The crossing.... (young female leopard) ...  I was on my way for a safari, driving along the state highway on the edge of the national park when a 'lump' caught my eye...  I can't explain it, it just looked a little out of place, so i slowed to take a better look. To my astonishment, it was a leopard, crouching in the scrub on the right side of the road waiting to cross. I sat and watched, smiling. Then a stupid car behind me, flew past me honking it's horn. The leopard panicked and dashed across the road in front of the idiot driver, who only narrowly missed hitting it. The car drove on, but the leopard looked back straight at me, paused briefly, then sauntered into the forest.

I had my camera ready and with me, so managed to get this shot. It is not the best shot, but a particularly memorable one for me. For those driving threw/near forests, please be mindful of the wildlife. We are invading their home, not the other way around. If things had gone slightly differently, this would have been a depressing image of a dead leopard on a road. So i look at this image and think how fragile life is, and how clumsy humanity is. 

The government here in Karnataka is constantly arguing with it's neighbouring states about road access. In order to get from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu or Kerala, you need to drive through the elephant belt, which includes several national parks, tiger reserve, the niligiri biosphere, or the western ghats. The Karnataka government close these roads from 6pm until 6am (give or take) in order to give the animals some piece, a restriction the southern states dislike as it limits their movement. Stick to your guns Karnataka, limit access and remain the state with the biggest tiger growth in India. Geotagged,India,Indian leopard,Kabini,Karnataka,Nagarhole National Park,Panthera pardus fusca,State Highway 33,Winter

Behavior

In Nepal's Bardia National Park, home ranges of male leopards comprised about 48 km2 , and of females about 17 km2 ; female home ranges decreased to 5 to 7 km2 when they had young cubs.

In Sariska National Park, the diet of Indian leopards includes axis deer, sambar deer, nilgai, wild pig, common langur, hare and peafowl.
A snarl of rage || Jhalana || Dec 2016.
ƒ/6.3, ISO 1600, 1/500s @ 600mm. Indian leopard,Panthera pardus fusca

Habitat

On the Indian subcontinent, topographical barriers to the dispersal of this subspecies are the Indus River in the west, and the Himalayas in the north. In the east, the lower course of the Brahmaputra and the Ganges Delta form natural barriers to the distribution of the Indochinese leopard. Indian leopards are distributed all over India, in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and parts of Pakistan. In the Himalayas they are sympatric with snow leopards up to 5,200 metres above sea level. They inhabit tropical rain forests, dry deciduous forests, temperate forests and northern coniferous forests but do not occur in the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans.In Nepal's Bardia National Park, home ranges of male leopards comprised about 48 km2 , and of females about 17 km2 ; female home ranges decreased to 5 to 7 km2 when they had young cubs.

In Sariska National Park, the diet of Indian leopards includes axis deer, sambar deer, nilgai, wild pig, common langur, hare and peafowl.
A leopard's feast || Jhalana || Dec 2016.
ƒ/5.6, ISO 1600, 1/2500s @ 280mm. Indian leopard,Panthera pardus fusca

Predators

Hunting for the illegal wildlife trade has the greatest potential to do maximum harm in minimal time. Apart from poaching, Indian leopards are threatened by loss of habitat and fragmentation of formerly connected populations, various levels of human–leopard conflict in human–dominated landscapes, and competition with other predators.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. They are sandwiched between prime tiger habitat, on the one side, and cultivated village land on the other.

References:

Some text fragments are auto parsed from Wikipedia.

Status: Near threatened | Trend: Decreasing
EX EW CR EN VU NT LC
Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderCarnivora
FamilyFelidae
GenusPanthera
SpeciesP. pardus
Photographed in
India
Sri Lanka