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India’s leopards under the gun

Excerpted from Big Cats News
Business Standard – New Delhi September 28, 2008, 0:38 IST

The rampant poaching of leopards in the wilds of Uttarakhand is as alarming as the earlier revelation about vanishing tigers in protected areas, a development that forced the government to set up a special Tiger Task Force in 2005 for revamping the wildlife protection system. Some three dozen leopards are said to have been killed in Uttarakhand in the last few months. Elsewhere, too, leopards have been the target of animal hunters, as borne out by the recovery of 27 leopard skins from different parts of the country in the past two months. Some estimates place the total number of leopards annihilated in this period at as high as 120, with most incidents being reported from Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka. It seems to be the case that the increased attention given to guarding tigers has made poachers turn their focus to the leopard. [more]