In addition to the almighty Bengal tiger, the leopard is another of the world’s cats that is well worth a safari. We tell you which are the best places to spot leopards in the Indian subcontinent.
The leopard is one of the world’s most adaptable wild cats and one of the most popular species to take on safari in Africa and the Indian subcontinent. However, unlike their congenitals in African territory, Asian leopards are more easily spotted as they lack large predators such as the lion. The leopard is one of the most adaptable cats on the planet and its presence, through up to nine species, extends across the African continent, the Middle East and Asia. Of all the countries included, India and Sri Lanka are two of the best destinations for leopard spotting . We tell you the main places to go in search of this huge cat with dark spots.
Jawai Leopard Reserve (Rajasthan)
Indian leopard populations span the country of the Taj Mahal but also populations from southern China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, and Nepal . Currently, a population of between 7,000 and 10,000 specimens is estimated throughout India , although there are strategic places where they can be found, such as Bera, in the state of Rajasthan . In this small village in the Aravalli mountains surrounded by the Jawai River, its inhabitants have learned to live with these felines camouflaged among the rocks and today it is possible to visit them in the Jawai Leopard Reserve . In fact, the activists themselves assure that only in Bera and Yala, in Sri Lanka, the leopards allow themselves to be seen aware of the presence of human beings. According to theThe best time to spot leopards in India , we recommend the months from November to April, although it is possible to spot them in Jawai during any month of the year. Jawai can be easily accessed from Jodhpur, by using taxi service in Jodhpur.
Jhalana Leopard Safari Park (Rajasthan)
In the state of Rajasthan we find the largest number of sanctuaries and parks where you can spot the leopard, including the Jhalana Leopard Safari Park. Located on the outskirts of the city of Jaipur , Jhalana offers different visiting options, especially at night , the best time to see the leopard hunting. One of the main advantages of Jhalana lies not only in its high number of specimens (up to 35, of which 6-7 roam the outskirts of the tourist area), but also in the proximity of the reserve to Jaipur, ideal for an excursion. a day without having to travel long distances.
Bandipur National Park (Karnataka)
Bandipur National Park was established in 1974 under the Tiger Project , which is why this park today has the second largest tiger population in all of India. But in Bandipur they do not forget the leopard, one of the species present along with its feline cousins, as well as antelopes, Indian elephants or jackals. According to SR Natesh, director of the Bandipur Project Tiger, the park currently has more than 300 leopards spread over more than 1,200 square km. An equation that gives away some of the best leopard sightings in South India .
Hemis National Park (Ladakh)
This time we travel to the confines of India to meet the winter brother of the leopard, the imposing snow leopard . A mysterious and territorial species whose magical presence is manifested in the Rambak Valley , the official capital of the snow leopard with more than 200 registered specimens. Hemis National Park is a good setting to spot this imposing mammal and discover the cultural heritage it invokes in the peoples of the Himalayas . In fact, if you reach the country of Bhutan , you will find events like the Jomolhari Mountain Festival, which is celebrated to pay tribute to the conservation of the snow leopard. If you dare to discover it, the best time to spot the snow leopard is between the months of January and March .
Yala National Park (Sri Lanka)
Ancient Ceylon stands out for its unique biodiversity, ranging from one of the largest elephant populations in the world to the presence of its famous leopard. Yala National Park , on the southeastern slopes of Sri Lanka, is the best setting for sighting the well-known Ceylon leopard , also called the Kotiya . Although studies confirm that this leopard is in danger of extinction, Yala has one of the densest populations in the world. The best time to spot the leopard in Sri LankaIt comprises between the months of March and October in different time slots. The leopard loves to hunt at night, but always takes advantage of the mid-afternoon sun to let itself be spied on during a tropical nap in the trees.
Wilpattu National Park (Sri Lanka)
Wilpattu is considered to be the largest national park in Sri Lanka and is spread across the North West Lowlands. The park was closed for more than fifteen years due to the Sri Lankan Civil War and reopened in 2003, at the time being the place on the island with the largest number of leopards. Although over time Yala has become the best leopard spotting park in Sri Lanka, Wilpattu also offers the possibility of following the trail of these cats. Also, it is a much quieter sanctuary when it comes to safari before linking up with Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle .
The sighting of big cats is one of the reasons that makes the difference when we have the dilemma of going on a safari in Africa or the Indian subcontinent. Discover the leopard during your trip to India and enjoy many other surprises and places with which to extend the sighting of the so-called “ghost of the forests”.