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Biodiversity & Environment

First Snow Leopard Survey

  • 24 Oct 2019
  • 3 min read

The Government of India has launched the First National Protocol on Snow Leopard Population Assessment, to mark the occasion of International Snow Leopard Day (23rd October).

  • The first National Snow Leopard Survey of the nation has been developed by scientific experts in association with the Snow Leopard States/UTs namely, Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.
    • The use of technology such as camera traps and scientific surveys will help to estimate the numbers.
  • The occasion also marked the inaugural session of the 4th steering committee meeting of the Global Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) Program.
    • The GSLEP is a high-level inter-governmental alliance of all the 12 snow leopard range countries.
      • The snow leopard countries namely, India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Mongolia, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
    • It majorly focuses on the need for awareness and understanding of the value of Snow Leopard for the ecosystem.
    • The GSLEP Program (2019) is being organized by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change at New Delhi.
    • Currently, the Steering Committee meeting of GSLEP chaired by Nepal and co-chaired by Kyrgyzstan.

Snow Leopard

  • The snow leopard inhabits the higher Himalayan and trans-Himalayan landscape in the five states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.
    • This area contributes to about 5% of the global snow leopard range.
  • Snow leopards are categorized as ‘Vulnerable’ by IUCN and in the Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.
  • They are listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), revealing the need for the highest conservation status to the species, both globally and in India.
  • Other conservation efforts launched by India are:
    • Project Snow Leopard (PSL) : It promotes an inclusive and participatory approach to conservation that fully involves local communities.
    • SECURE Himalaya: Global Environment Facility (GEF)-United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) funded the project on conservation of high altitude biodiversity and reducing the dependency of local communities on the natural ecosystem. This project is now operational in four snow leopard range states, namely, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Sikkim.

Source: PIB

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