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Snow leopard spotted in Kullu national park

KULLU: Research scholars from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, spotted a snow leopard in the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) yesterday.

Snow leopard spotted in Kullu national park


Abhinav Vashisht

Kullu, December 8

Research scholars from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, spotted a snow leopard in the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) yesterday. Senior scientist of the institute K Ramesh confirmed that a team carrying out research work was able to take photographs of the snow leopard at an altitude of about 2,700 m. It was for the first time that photographic evidence of the presence of the elusive species in the GHNP was confirmed, he added.

Ramesh said various scholars were carrying out research in the GHNP on rare species of animals.

Snow leopards were rarely spotted in the area by residents and that too at an altitude of 3,500 m and above. A native of Central and South Asia, snow leopard is listed as a ‘vulnerable’ category animal on the ‘Red List’ of threatened species compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

GHNP director RS Patiyal said, “This is perhaps for the first time that the presence of a snow leopard has been reported through a camera trap photograph from the GHNP area.” He added that the presence of rare species in the area was a good sign.

The GHNP authorities are unaware of the exact number of snow leopards in the national park. Snow leopards and other rare species are protected under the strict guidelines of the Wildlife Protection Act-1972, which is why any sort of hunting is prohibited in the area.

The director said the presence of animals such as blue sheep, snow leopard, Himalayan brown bear, Himalayan thar and musk deer had been noticed in the park area, but photographic evidence of the presence of snow leopard was documented for the first time. He said with the efforts of conservation of rare species of animals present in the area, they were hopeful that the strength of such vulnerable species would increase in the near future. He said the GHNP would install 35 CCTV cameras in the park to track and monitor various rare species present in the area. The measure would also help check poaching. The Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) was declared a protected reserve in 1999 and a UNESCO World Heritage site on June 23, 2014. Panky, a resident of Hamani village, said it was a good sign that rare species of fauna and flora was increasing in the area due to the conservation efforts of the government.


Photographic evidence documented for first time 

  • Snow leopards are rarely spotted in the area by residents and that too at an altitude of 3,500 m and above. 
  • They are listed as a ‘vulnerable’ category animal on the ‘Red List’ of threatened species compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  • Photographic evidence of the presence of snow leopard has been documented for the first time.
  • Snow leopards and other rare species are protected under the strict guidelines of the Wildlife Protection Act-1972. 
  • The Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) was declared a protected reserve in 1999 and a UNESCO World Heritage site on June 23, 2014.

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