What is Leopard Cat?

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What is Leopard Cat? Blog Image


A leopard cat has been spotted in Maharashtra’s Pench Tiger Reserve for the first time, a senior forest official said recently.

About Leopard Cat:

  • It is a species of forest-dwelling cat, of the family Felidae.
  • Scientific Name: Prionailurus bengalensis
  • It is noted for its leopard-like colouring
  • Distribution:
    • They are the most widely distributed Asian small cats.
    • Their range extends from the Amur region in the Russian Far East over the Korean Peninsula, China, Indochina, the Indian Subcontinent, to the West in northern Pakistan, and to the south in the Philippines and the Sunda Islands of Indonesia
  • Habitat:
    • They are found in agriculturally used areas but prefer forested habitats.
    • They live in tropical evergreen rainforests and plantations at sea level, in subtropical deciduous and coniferous forests in the foothills of the Himalayas at altitudes above 1000 m.
  • Features:
    • They vary widely in size and appearance across their range. The colouration ranges from pale tawny, to yellow, red, or grey above, with the underparts white, and spotted.
    • There are usually four black stripes running down the forehead to the nape, breaking up into short bands and elongate spots on the shoulders.
    • The length of the animal ranges from 45 to 75 cm (18 to 30 inches), excluding the 23–35-cm (9–13.8-inch) tail. 
    • They are solitary, nocturnal carnivores.
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN Red List: Least Concern

Key Facts about Pench Tiger Reserve:

  • Location: It is located in the southern reaches of the Satpura hills in the Seoni and Chhindwara districts in Madhya Pradesh and continues in Nagpur district in Maharashtra as a separate Sanctuary. 
  • It is named after the Pench River, which flows from north to south through the Reserve.
  • It comprises the Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park, the Pench Mowgli Sanctuary, and a buffer.
  • The area of the Pench Tiger Reserve and the surrounding area is the real story area of Rudyard Kipling's famous "The Jungle Book".
  • Vegetation: The undulating topography supports a mosaic of vegetation ranging from a moist, sheltered valley to an open, dry deciduous forest.
  • Flora: The reserve boasts a diverse range of flora, including teak, saag, mahua, and various grasses and shrubs.
  • Fauna:
    • The area is especially famous for large herds of Chital, Sambar, Nilgai, Gaur (Indian Bison), and wild boar.
    • The key predator is the tiger, followed by the leopard, wild dogs, and wolf.
    • There are over 325 species of resident and migratory birds, including the Malabar Pied Hornbill, Indian Pitta, Osprey, Grey Headed Fishing Eagle, White Eyed Buzzard, etc.

Q1: What are tropical evergreen forests?

The tropical evergreen forests usually occur in areas receiving more than 200 cm of rainfall and having a temperature of 15 to 30 degrees Celsius. They occupy about seven per cent of the earth's land surface and habours more than half of the world’s plants and animals. They are found mostly near the equator. These forests are dense and multi-layered.

Source: Leopard cat sighted in Maharashtra’s Pench Tiger Reserve for first time: Official