Highlights

The Uttarakhand Govt is to develop India’s first Snow Leopard Conservation centre of India. The centre is to be developed by the Uttarakhand forest department and the UN Development Programme.

The main aim of the centre is to conserve and restore Himalayan ecosystems. It also aims to conserve elusive snow leopards and other endangered Himalayan species.

Concerns

A number of snow leopards have been spotted in the districts of Pithoragarh and Uttarkashi. However, the actual figures are unknown. So far, the Uttarakhand govt has concluded that there are 86 snow leopards in the state.

There is a need to identify areas where the snow leopards are being spotted. This can be achieved with the help of forest department and cooperation from local people and military forces.

Benefits

The step is to promote winter tourism in the Uttarakhand. The Uttarakhand state is also in the process of developing 6 city forests to expand the green area in the cities. This is to be achieved in city forests in Kumaon region, four in hilly districts and two in plains.

Snow Leopard in India

The first National Protocol on Snow Leopard Population Assessment was launched on International Snow Leopard Day (October 23, 2019). The survey was conducted in the states/UTs of Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Arunachal P. The launch also marked the inaugural of 4th Steering Committee meeting of Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Programme

Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Programme

GSLEP Programmeis an inter-governmental alliance of all twelve snow leopard range countries. This includes China, Bhutan, Nepal, Mongolia, India, Pakistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan.

The programme mainly focuses on the need of awareness and understanding the value of snow leopard in an ecosystem. It is organised by Environment Ministry.

About Snow Leopard

The Snow Leopard region in India contributes to 5 per cent of the global snow leopard region. They are classified as Vulnerable in IUCN list and has been included in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Conservation Efforts in India

India had launched Project Snow Leopard to promote inclusive approach that involves local communities.

Secure Himalaya is another project being operated in India to conserve Snow Leopard. It is funded by the Global Environment Facility-UN Development Programme. The programme is now being operated in four states/UTs namely HP, J&K, Sikkim and Uttarakhand.

First Snow Leopard Conservation Centre of India