The Leopard is classified as one of the 5 “big cat” species found in the Panthera genus. The 5 big cats are known by zoologists as tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards, and cheetahs. In taxonomy classification, Pantheras are members of the Felidae family, or Felid for short.
Scientific Name of Leopard: Panthera pardus
Leopards are an awe-inspiring animal, full of grace, power, and amazing quickness. Did you know? A leopard can easily take down prey three times it’s size! They dominate their environment at the very top of the food chain, and have zero natural enemies. Leopards are known to hunt monkeys, wildebeest, gazelles, rodents, reptiles, mammals, antelope, deer, amphibians, impala, birds, etc.
Did you know? Leopards can be melanistic, which translated from Greek means, “black pigment”. A melanistic leopard is also known as a black panther.
Leopards can be found in abundance in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and China. Populations elsewhere remain inconsistent and declining.
Leopard weight varies according to species. Yala’s giant leopards are the largest species, and weigh 130 lbs on average. The smallest is the Arabian leopard, at 66 lbs.
The typical lifespan for leopards in the wild is between 12-17 years, but in captivity, they survive much longer. It’s common for leopards in National Parks and zoos to live for 20 years or more.
Known Types Of Leopard
African Leopard, Indian Leopard, Javan Leopard, Arabian Leopard, Anatolian Leopard, North-Chinese Leopard, Amur Leopard, Indochinese Leopard, and Sri Lankan Leopard.
More About The Leopard – India’s Stealthy Nocturnal Predator
It’s not at all unusual to see a leopards draped over tree limbs sleeping. Leopards actually spend a great deal of their lifetime in trees, and will drag their prey and hang it from the branches. When on the ground, leopards will comfortably travel 15 miles across their home territory, but are known to travel up to 50 miles away if they’re bothered by a disturbance.
The leopard has been clocked at running speeds in excess of 36 mph! Their leaping ability (horizontally) is just as impressive at a whopping 20 feet! Straight up into the air (vertically), a leopard can jump nearly 10 feet up!
At night is when the leopard is most active. Stalking their prey, they use their acute sense of hearing and vision as tools. However, only 1 in 10 hunts is successful, which means the leopard must stay in top physical condition to secure their prey.
Leopard Conservation Status – Vulnerable (IUCN 3.1)
The leopards Vulnerable (IUCN 3.1) status is primarily due to fragmentation and habitat loss. The VU status listing is neighbor to being Of Least Concern, which is a very good sign. However, leopard numbers are still decreasing due to illegal hunting, smuggling, folklore medicine, and decoration.
The Bandhavgarh National Park is proud to do its part to help leopards reach a sustainable number again. Bandhavgarh National Park believes in contributing to wildlife conservation, and donations are always welcome! We do our very best to take care of the park so it always provides the animals with a near perfect replica of their natural habitat.