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Himachal

Posted at: Jul 22, 2018, 1:04 AM; last updated: Jul 22, 2018, 1:04 AM (IST)

Snow leopard population survey on cards

Snow leopard population survey on cards

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 21

The Forest Department in partnership with the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF), Mysore, will undergo population estimation of the highly endangered snow leopard in the 20,000 sq km belt spread across six districts of Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur, Shimla, Kullu, Kangra and Chamba.

The project will not only focus on population estimation of snow leopards, but also of wild herbivores.

“The implementation of the project will make Himachal the first state to get a population estimation survey done on such a large scale,” revealed Dr Ramesh C Kang, Principal Chief Conservator Forest (PCCF)-cum-Chief Wildlife Warden. The estimated population of snow leopards is about 25-30 in the upper Spiti area though they have been spotted in other areas like Pangi and the Great Himalayan Nature Park also. A snow leopard conservation project was earlier implemented between 2010 and 2016 but only in the upper Spiti, including the Kibber wildlife sanctuary, in partnership with the NCF but covered only about 4,000 sq km. A sum of Rs 2.66 crore was spent which aimed at conserving the natural heritage of the high-altitude wildlife population and their habitats through participatory policies and actions.

“The threats, emerging from factors like climatic changes, intense local and migratory livestock grazing and retribution killing and hunting, have necessitated the need for conserving species like snow leopard so that there is an increase in their population,” said Dr Kang.

The potential areas having snow leopard have been assessed at 719 sq km in Shimla district, Kullu - 2,453 sq km, Chamba - 2,565 sq km, Kangra - 814 sq km.

The density of snow leopards during the earlier project in upper Spiti was recorded to be 0.75 per 1,000 sq km.

The NCF, Mysore, has been associated with the Wildlife wing of the Forest Department in implementing the management plan and long-term population monitoring of snow leopard, blue sheep and ibex in Spiti sub-division. However, owing to the elusive nature of the snow leopard and its remote habitat, knowledge of presence of the snow leopard has remained limited in the remaining potential areas in Himachal.


6 districts to be covered

  • The exercise will be held in Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur, Shimla, Kullu, Kangra and Chamba
  • The project will cover the potential vast expanse of snow leopard
  • It will not only focus on population estimation of snow leopards, but also of wild herbivores 
  • The estimated population of snow leopards is about 25-30 in the upper Spiti area
  • Though they have been spotted in Pangi and the Great Himalayan Nature Park

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