The Challenges of Human and Leopard Coexistence

Human and leopard coexistence has become one of the great challenges throughout the global range of panthera pardus.

In a changing world humans and leopards now share space more than ever before.  The leopard is found in around 70 countries but has also disappeared from several more, its range is large but the space within that range is diminishing.  While there are examples of passive coexistence there is overall a growing conflict resulting in often tragic consequences for both people are leopards.  Below are some of the issues leading to coexistence challenges meaning an uncertain future for the leopard.

Habitat encroachment – The leopard has lost more than 75% of their historicial range and only 17% of what is left is legally protected.

Prey depletion and habitat deterioration – For a variety of reasons including climate change and human interference the leopard is left with less suitable habitats than their needs require. 

Lack of conservation emphasis – The leopard has fallen under the radar in most parts of its range.  Being a secretive animal which is difficult to study and get accurate census figures as well as the until recent notion that the species was not under serious threat has meant that governments and the conservation community  have not given the leopard the emphasis it needs.

Poaching – Leopard skins, bones, teeth and claws fetch high prices on illegal markets and leopard body parts use in traditional medicines also adds to demand.

Retaliation killing – where human injury/fatality and/or livestock loss have taken place and leopards are killed in retaliation.

This website is a work in progress.  Please return soon as we go into more detail regarding the issues above.  Read about elements of our human – wildlife conflict mitigation work HERE.