By Mat McDermott
A new report from Traffic looks at the state of leopard poaching and smuggling in India in the first decade of the 21st century, finding that over that period an average of four leopards have been killed each week, with their body parts entering the black market.
In addition to an international trade ban on leopard parts, India has domestic legislation prohibiting the trade.
Looking at records of leopard part seizures by authorities, and applying statistical analysis to attempt to estimate undetected smuggling, the report says that just under 3000 leopards were killed by poachers from 2001-2010.
As for where these leopard parts are sold, Traffic says many of the leopard parts sold in Myanmar, Laos, and Tibet are of Indian origin.
The chart below shows where the most seizures of leopard parts—90% of which are skins—have occurred.
Leopards once lived across a large swath of land from Siberia to South Africa (see map below), but habitat loss and hunting have drastically reduced their range. IUCN classifies leopards as being near-threatened, one step below being considered on the endangered spectrum and one above being of least concern. Graphics.