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Status Report of Snow Leopards in India: Arunachal, Sikkim home to nearly 60 of the majestic big cats

First Published: 30th January, 2024 20:44 IST

Union Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, released the Status Report of Snow Leopards in New Delhi today.

In a decisive step towards animal conservation, the Status Report of Snow Leopards in India, has been released by the Centre, which states that a total of 241 new snow leopards were captured on film. The numbers could be ascertained after the first-ever scientific exercise to find out the exact number of snow leopards was carried out by the Wildlife Institute of India.

For this, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim too have reasons to cheer for as the survey mentions that both the Northeast states are home to a sizeable number of the majestic big cats.

Based on data analysis, after the survey, the estimated population in different states are- Ladakh- 477
Uttarakhand- 124
Himachal Pradesh- 51
Arunachal Pradesh- 36
Sikkim- 21
Jammu and Kashmir-9
Union Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, released the report during the National Board for Wildlife meeting held in New Delhi today.

The assessment covered over 70 per cent of the potential snow leopard range in the country, covering approximately 120,000km2 of crucial snow leopard habitat across the trans-Himalayan region, including the Union territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir, and states such as Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.

The exercise was conducted from 2019 to 2023 using a meticulous two-step framework. Snow leopard abundance was estimated using camera traps in each identified stratified region.

During the exercise, total efforts included: 13,450 km of trails surveyed for recording Snow leopard signs, while camera traps were deployed at 1,971 locations for 180,000 trap nights.

Until recent years, the snow leopard range in India was undefined due to a lack of extensive nationwide assessments for this vulnerable species.

Taking to X, Bhupender Yadav said, “Presided over the meeting of the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife in New Delhi today.

During the meeting, released the Status Report of Snow Leopards in India. The Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India Program is the first-ever scientific exercise that reports a population of 718 in India.

Also, released the vision plan for Wildlife Institute of India which outlines WII’s goals, objectives and activities to be accomplished from 2023-24 to 2032-33 to make it a world-class institute.”

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