Leopards are now the targets of tiger poachers in Uttarakhand. Thirty four of leopards have been killed so far this year. While some of them died of natural causes, a majority of these leopards were killed by poachers. Last year, the number of leopards killed stood at 134.
The Uttarakhand Police have recovered huge cache of leopard skin and body parts since the beginning of this year. Cops have seized 22 leopard skins and have arrested 14 people in since the beginning of this year. But even after stringent steps taken by wildlife authorities and the police, the smuggling of these body parts continues unabated.
"We feel the primary reason for this is high demand for leopard body parts in the international market," said Parag Madhukar Dhakate, Divisional Forest Officer, Nainital.
Police believes leopard's body parts are being smuggled through Nepal to other countries.
These hauls have triggered panic among the wildlife activists.