Endangered snow leopard noticed first time in Kumaon Hills of Himalayas

Uttarakhand that houses the beautiful Kumaon Himalayas became the talk of town when snow leopard- the most endangered species on earth, was noticed in the Himalayas, thereby disclosing for the first time that these species are still existing.


Snow Leopard (Photo Credit: Sujit kumar Mahapatra)

As per the Uttarakhand forest department officials, a camera captured the picture of the snow leopard, thus making it the first recorded proof of these species in Kumaon Himalayas.

They also added that the recent picture served as a solid proof of more than 11 such snow leopards being in the Kumaon area.

Shravan Kumar who is the deputy director of GNP said: “We have camera trapped only five individuals, but there are more snow leopards in this region. The park is a potential breeding ground for the specie.”

Vipul Maurya who is studying the presence of snow leopards in the greater Himalayas said that it’s the first “photographic evidence” that the snow leopard is present in Kumaon area. “Through the evidence, forest department would be able to prepare better conservation strategy for this endangered species,” he added.

Maurya informed that the snow leopard was spotted in Bageshwar district at a height of 4,100 meters above sea level on June 29 when the camera clicked its picture.

The last photographic evidence of the snow leopard heads back to 2010 when it was found in the Nanda Devi Biosphere and Gangotri National Park.

Maurya believes that the Kumaon Himalayas is a possible major attraction of high peak wildlife albeit not much is known about its biodiversity. Camera captured a Tibetan wolf in the area earlier this year.

Known throughout the world for its beautiful fur and elusive behavior, the snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is found in the rugged mountains of Central Asia, in 12 countries. Snow leopards are perfectly adapted to the cold, barren
landscape of their high-altitude home, but human threats (poaching, retaliation killings, habitat loss) have created an uncertain future for the cats.

Despite a range of over 2 million km2, there are only between 4,000 and 6,500 snow leopards left in the wild. The cat is listed an endangered on the IUCN Red List, prompting drive for preservation fund last year to save the endangered snow beauty.

The Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme (ITHCP) initiated by International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) received funding from Germany’s aid agency Kfw to promote tiger population by at least two-fold by 2022.

Although some recent tiger conservation stories have raised hope, the growing human population in the tiger habitat countries increases the risk of poaching, fragmentation, habitat loss and human-tiger conflicts.

ITHCP aims at conserving wild tiger (Panthera tigris) populations and their habitats as well as on the sustainable development of livelihoods of human groups that live in and around the major tiger habitats.

In October, 2014 the first call for sharing concepts of putting this programme into action got underway with nine nations qualified for funding – Bangladesh, Cambodia, Bhutan, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, Lao PDR and India, sending a series of potential concepts. On June 10, 2015 the second call for concepts was launched.

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