Lucknow, Sept 14 : Authorities in Lucknow Zoo, that has been a home to many rescued leopards, has been facing space crunch for keeping the animals.
Apart from the three big cats, the Zoo has given shelter to leopards rescued by wildlife authorities after they strayed into human habitat.
"Today, the Zoo has ten leopards which is more then our capacity to keep the animal. We have the capacity to keep four leopards and two other can be kept in our hospital. The leopards brought here are not from any other zoo, but are the ones rescued," said Renu Singh, director of the Lucknow Zoo.
Spread over 24 hectares, the Zoo is a home to varied species of reptiles, birds and mammals.
Country's leopards are under threat, with increasing number of the wild cats being poached for their body parts and villagers killing them for straying into human settlements.
With tiger population dwindling in recent years as a result of poaching, wildlife officials say hunters have increasingly set their sights on leopards, killing them for their skins as well as bones, claws and penises for use in traditional Asian medicines.
Depletion of their habitat has also threatened the leopards, forcing them to stray into human settlements -- attacking people and cattle -- and often getting killed in return.
India had about 7,300 leopards according to a 1997 census, but conservationists say the number is now likely to be much lower.