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Three Reasons Leopard Spotting Is on the Rise

Leopards were not in the scope when we started monitoring wolf packs around Pune in 2010. Since 2017 we started hearing about leopards being spotted occasionally in some areas where we had seen wolves. After studying one of those areas we could attribute reasons for these increased sightings to the following factors :

  1. Availability of LPG in recent years reduced cutting/ collection of firewood, resulting in dense growth of vegetation.

  2. Because of dense undergrowth and water availability because of agriculture, wild boars started moving in.

  3. Leopards from adjacent breeding populations followed wild boars. Although leopards also prey on dogs, sheep and scavenge.

In 2 years, we have seen breeding leopards in the same place we previously saw only stray sightings. Discussions with experts from other parts of India have revealed different findings. Interviews with locals confirmed that they had not seen leopards in decades. It will be very interesting to study the overlap of two top predators in the landscape. However, currently wolves are strictly avoiding areas used by leopards, while jackals and hyenas continue to use the same areas.


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