According to recent studies, one of the world’s most famous big cat is endangered. Panthera pardus or the leopard as it is known has come to the attention of experts which first noticed and tried to understand why leopards are out of territory and what is the cause of the decrease in their population.
Thanks to a paper study that has been very recently published in the scientific journal Peer J. conducted by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Panthera, National Geographic Society’s Big Cats Initiative, and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), it seems that leopards would occupy 35 million square kilometers in parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Nowadays, this territory was reduced to almost only 8,5 million square kilometers.
After 3 years of research and after going through 1,300 sources, experts stated that out of all 9 subspecies of leopard, 3 of them are already on the verge of extinction. Moreover, it is a fact that in some parts of Asia, Arabian Peninsula and a wide historic area in China and Southeast Asia ,leopards have been almost eradicated. Studies show that in these regions, the historic range of the leopards has been reduced by 98 percent so there is no doubt why leopards are out of territory. Africa makes no exception as in north and west these big cats are seriously endangered.
According to the experts, the general opinion that leopards are thriving in the wild is false. Just because the leopard is one of the most famous cats does not mean that it is also living like a celebrity. Joseph Lemeris Jr., working as a researcher for the National Geographic Society’s Big Cats Initiative explained that leopards are indeed highly adaptable and have a various diet. Still, they could survive in areas inhabited by humans only if they are tolerated. Moreover, they need cover, as they have a secretive nature and most important access to wild prey. Many conflicts between humans and leopards started because leopards being out of territory would start eating the local people’s domestic animals.
But the biggest threat for the leopard is the legal trophy hunting and poachers who hunt to use their skin and parts for illegal trade. To conclude, according to the study, these are several causes why leopards are out of territory.
Image Source: Wikipedia
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