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Leopard (Panthera pardus) - photograph by David Behrens

Common names: Tendua, Baghera, Sona cheeta, Marathi: karda, Telugu: chirutha puli
Characters: A sleek short - haired animal with a bright coat marked with small close - set black rosettes.
Habitat: Extends over the Indian peninsula, Burma, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal.
Size: Male: 215 cm in length and weigh a maximum of 68 kg. Female: 180 cm in length and weigh a max of 50 kg.

Habits: They can tolerate the sun better and hence hunt even by the day if they fail to get food in the nights. They will kill and eat anything that can be overpowered with safety. They display many of the habits of tigers . They seize their prey from the ground or leap on them from a height. They breed all year round. The female produces its first litter when about three years of age. Normally two cubs are born and occasionally three or four.

In Haryana, the number of leopards has increased from 25 in 1993 to 30 in the year 2000. Researchers have found more leopard droppings in and around villages than in forests. They say that these cats know they can feed on the prey in the villages. But if they do so repeatedly, it is a cause for concern. The villagers residing in the lower Shivalik hills dread these visitations. They says that Man-leopard encounters are increasing. There have been many cases of dog and cattle lifting. Mountain goats, Wild Boar and Jungle Fowl which the leopard preyed on earlier are declining with habitat loss and poaching. That's why the animal is looking for prey in villages. The experts say this animal never attacks human beings unless it is injured or fears attack. However, in 1992, One child was believed to have been killed by a leopard in the Morni Hills. Morni forest area, around 10 km from Panchkula, is situated in the Shivalik foothills which stretches over an area of 3000 sq km. The last animal census conducted in this region had revealed that there were 18 leopards here, but according to more recent information, Morni and the adjoining Kalesar forest, have around 30 leopards.

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