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Jhalana Reserve Forest, India

(Panthera pardus)

IUCN status : Near threatened

Leopards are probably the most adaptable big cat of the subcontinent. Renowned for their agility, they run up to 58 kmph and can leap 6 meters horizontally and 3 meters vertically. They are able to climb trees, even when carrying heavy prey and they do so to ensure lions or hyenas can’t steal them. Leopards are astoundingly strong. They are pound for pound the strongest of the big cats. This means if all the big cats were of the same size and weight, the leopard would be the strongest. Leopards are the most elusive and secretive of the large felines. They are extremely difficult to trace and locate in the wild. However due to loss of habitat they are increasingly being found in and around villages and townships.

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