Snow leopard count rises in Himalayan national park : The Tribune India

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Snow leopard count rises in Himalayan national park

Authorities plan Census to know exact population

Snow leopard count rises in Himalayan national park


Dipender Manta

Tribune News Service

Mandi, December 21

The authorities of the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP), Kullu, are planning a census of snow leopards in the park in the coming days to know their exact population. The GHNP is located in Banjar subdivision of Kullu district.

On the verge of extinction

A snow leopard is a rare species of wildlife animal, which is on the verge of extinction. It is listed as vulnerable on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature because its global population is estimated to be less than 10,000 mature individuals and is expected to decline by about 10 per cent by 2040.

Suneet Bhardwaj, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of the GHNP, says, “The population of snow leopards has increased in the Great Himalayan National Park, Kullu, in the past few years. The movement of snow leopards was captured on camera for the first time in the GHNP area by the Wildlife Institute in 2018. Researchers of the Nature Conservation Foundation had in 2019 installed trap cameras in different locations in the GHNP and the movement of snow leopards and their cubs was captured at 19 places”.

The DFO said, “Now, the GHNP authorities have an official document that shows the snow leopard population is increasing in the park. Earlier, we had noticed only adult snow leopards in the GHNP area but last year the researchers of the Nature Conservation Foundation captured pictures of cubs of snow leopards in trap cameras, which revealed that this rare species of wildlife is also breeding here. It is a good sign for the GHNP, which is a habitat of different species of wildlife, flora and fauna”.

He said, “The GHNP authorities have not yet ascertained the exact leopard population but the process is underway to conduct a census”.

“The GHNP was awarded the UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2014, in recognition of its outstanding significance for biodiversity conservation.

The park protects over 1,000 plant species, including many medicinal herbs, 31 mammal and 209 bird species, as well as amphibians, reptiles and insects. Four of the GHNP’s mammal species and three of its bird species, including musk deer and western horned tragopan, are globally threatened,” said the DFO.


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