Leopard in India and Where Can You See Them

by pateluday

Leopard also known as the panther is one of the most endangered felines in India. It is second to none in beauty and grace and even outdoes the majestic tiger in brute strength...

Compared to lions and tigers, leopards have been built small by nature. They are barely one-fourth the size of their cousins the lions and the tigers. In India, there are three races of leopards namely, the common leopard, the snow leopard, and the clouded leopard. Black panther most sought after by wildlife lovers is not a separate race but its black color is due to excess melanin or the black pigment.

It is reported that no more than twelve thousand leopards may be surviving in India, and due to its proximity to human habitations is under greater threat of extinction. The feline is a master of survival, and ventures too close to small towns and villages in search of small prey. This behavior is leading to many of them being killed by humans because of threat perception.

Bera Leopards

Leopard of Bera
Leopard of Bera
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More on Leopards


Leopards as mentioned earlier are small mammals and predatory by nature. They are also known as carnivores for they survive entirely on meat. Once widespread all over the World they are restricted to a few regions. This big cat is found in sub-Saharan Africa, Western and Central Asia, Southern Russia, the Indian subcontinent to Southeast and East Asia. The population is spread out in the regions described above but it is scattered and on the brink of extinction in many places.   

The animal belongs to the cat group and is placed in the genus Panthera and family Felidae. Unlike cats, felines do not meow but rather roar.  Due to minor differences, the species is divided into races named after the country where it survives. 

Like tigers, the panther in India is a solitary animal coming together only for mating. They hunt by ambush and rarely chase their prey. Unlike the tiger, this carnivore survives on small game like hens, goats, sheep, other small mammals, birds, and reptiles. 

Kabini Leopard
Kabini Leopard
BMS Mumbai

Leopard Sighting

There are many places where the leopard can be sighted in India. They are easily sighted in tiger reserves like Nagzira, Kabini, Kanha, Bandhavgarh, and Pench. Leopard is also sighted in Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai. While these places are popular for sighting common leopards.

The black panther is easily sighted at Kabini, Nagzira, and Pench. There has been a spate of sightings of black panthers recently. Though black panther sighting is not common it is frequently seen. 

Almost all tiger reserves have common leopards living in their confines but because the focus is on the tiger little notice is taken of the common panther. But often by luck people manage to see and photograph them in the reserves. 

Leopard At Jhalana
Leopard At Jhalana
BMS India

Race of Leopards in India

Where they are found?

While the common leopard is found everywhere even in the periphery of some major towns. It is even found in dense localities of Mumbai and Delhi that have managed to encroach on its territory. These leopards hide in the daytime in the remaining bush country and emerge to hunt feral dogs in the daytime. But unfortunately, there have been cases of man-killing and hence most of these carnivores are captured and translocated to dense forests nearby by or at far-off reserves. As suburbs come under human settlements man-animal conflict in India is on the rise. 

The best place to see the common leopard is on a leopard safari at Bera in Rajasthan. Another place to see them is at Jhalana Wildlife Park in Jaipur Rajasthan. Though wild by all means these big cats have become accustomed to man and you can watch them from afar on a safari jeep. 

The snow leopard is found in the highlands of the Himalayas, and the best place to see them is Laddakh in Northern India. They live in greater heights like in Laddakh with sub-zero temperatures. Tourists on safari must get acclimatized to the weather before the tour. 

The clouded leopard, the smallest of the three is an arboreal predator and survives on small game. It is found in North East of the Himalayan foothills. The best place to see them is in Namdhapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh.

Leopard At Kanha

Updated: 02/03/2023, pateluday
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pateluday on 02/04/2023

The black and white is the tail DerdriuMarriner/

pateluday on 02/04/2023

Black Panther, snow leopard, and clouded leopard stand out in appearance while the common leopards all Look Alike.

DerdriuMarriner on 02/03/2023

Your second and third in-text images are of a Kabini leopard sentient.

What is the black-and-white component draped diagonally across her/his body in the second in-text image?

That same black-and-white cylinder looks like a tail in the third in-text image where the leopard sentient makes eye contact while hunkered down over a water source!

blackspanielgallery on 02/03/2023

Is there a noticeable variation in color where some stand out from the others?

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