You could be 10 feet from a leopard and never see it! Its the ultimate in big cat camouflage. There is something about the rosettes, the tone, the color, hue, shape and movement of this cat that makes it practically invisible if it chooses not to be seen.
This is probably why it manages to exist in very close proximity to man without him ever sensing its presence. Many communities, even in urban areas in India would be shocked to discover that these cats live, eat, breed under their very noses, because they manage to do so very secretively.
The exploding human population is changing this dynamic very rapidly. Instances of conflict in outer Mumbai, Uttarakhand and many other places suggest the proximity has gotten way too close for comfort.
With our diminishing forest cover, these cats have no place to go. They need a new trick. Quick.