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Biodiversity & Environment

Snow Leopard

  • 23 Apr 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Just days before celebrating Earth Day, the internet was going viral over a photo of a snow leopard.

Key Points

  • About:
    • Scientific Name: Panthera uncia
    • Top Predator: Snow leopards act as an indicator of the health of the mountain ecosystem in which they live, due to their position as the top predator in the food web.
  • Habitat:
    • Mountainous regions of central and southern Asia.
    • In India, their geographical range encompasses:
      • Western Himalayas: Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh.
      • Eastern Himalayas: Uttarakhand and Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
    • Snow Leopard capital of the world: Hemis, Ladakh.
      • Hemis National Park is the biggest national park in India and also has a good presence of Snow Leopard.
  • Protection Status:
  • Conservation Efforts by India:
    • The Government of India has identified the snow leopard as a flagship species for the high altitude Himalayas.
    • India is also party to the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) Programme since 2013.
    • HimalSanrakshak: It is a community volunteer programme, to protect snow leopards, launched in October 2020.
    • In 2019, First National Protocol was also launched on Snow Leopard Population Assessment which has been very useful for monitoring populations.
    • 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.
    • Project Snow Leopard (PSL): It was launched in 2009 to promote an inclusive and participatory approach to conserve snow leopards and their habitat.
    • Snow Leopard is on the list of 21 critically endangered species for the recovery programme of the Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change.
    • Snow Leopard conservation breeding programme is undertaken at Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Darjeeling, West Bengal.

Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) Programme

  • 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.

Living Himalaya Network Initiative

  • Living Himalayas Initiative (LHI) is established as one of WWF’s global initiatives to bring about transformational conservation impact across the three Eastern Himalayan countries of Bhutan, India (North-East) and Nepal.
  • Objectives of LHI include adapting to climate change, connecting to habitat and saving iconic species.

Source: TH

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