Tamil Nadu forest department and the Wildlife activists are super excited as the State continuing to a be roaring destination for big cats, particularly leopards. Tamil Nadu has bagged the fourth position overtaking Uttarakhand, a state known for serene undisturbed forest cover and tiger reserves. TN has an average population of 868 leopards, overtaking Uttarakhand and Chattishgarh with 838 and 852 leopards respectively. Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka are in the top two positions, followed by Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, pushing Chhatisgarh and Uttarakhand to fifth position and sixth position.
Wildlife conservationist and a member of Sathyamangalam Tiger Conservation Foundation A Kumaraguru said, “This is an interesting fact to be observed as TN has overtaken Uttarakhand which has double the number of tiger population when compared to us. As per 2018 national tiger conservation, Uttarakhand had 450 plus tigers, whereas TN accounted for 264 tigers. But when it comes to leopards, the population is brimming and there are still a large number leopards living outside our TN forest areas".
He suggested long-term camera trap monitoring for the stray leopard in the wildlife conflict areas of the State surrounding Anamalai and Valparai tea estate areas. A forest official said, the State’s tiger-leopard ratio is 1:4, which is healthy and there is more room for the tiger and leopard population to increase if the forests are well protected. He also added, “Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh have contiguous forests when compared to heavily urbanised Tamil Nadu. Top four officials from the state were involved in the compilation and field report related to leopards and the role of wildlife experts is crucial".