Endangered Snow Leopard Populations Steadily Recovering in Himachal, Says Study
First-time report pointed big cat’s number has improved in the state
Good news comes along with the New Year, the population of endangered snow leopards has increased. This first-time study, by Himachal Pradesh’s forest department in association with the Mysore-based Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF), puts the number of snow leopards between 52 and 73. The study comes at the heels of a recent sighting of a snow leopard the day after Christmas in Chicham village in the Kibber area in the high-altitude cold desert of Himachal Pradesh.
Known as the ghost of mountains, snow leopard inhabits the cold desert of the trans-Himalayan region. There have been several sightings of the endangered species in Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur and Pangi areas. As per the state’s forest department, there have been 15 sightings in recent months as cats roamed around for food and water. Reportedly, it took four years to finish this study.
Rajiv Kumar, Himachal’s Chief Wildlife warden, said the forest department has enhanced its efforts to improve the animal habitat, better ecological conditions and lessen the human-animal conflict. He added that the detections are a good sign of conservation of the endangered species.
Dinesh Sharma, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Lahaul-Spiti said that the study included trail mapping, satellite survey, sign survey and other methods to calculate the number. He also added that people, whether locals or tourists, should not go looking for wild cats and stay away from their natural habitat. He added;
The study indicates the prey base is adequate in the region…They should also not share their actual location on social media and other platforms without valid permission. Filming too should be avoided.
Reportedly, under the ‘Secure Himalayas Project,’ the Environment Ministry in collaboration with the Himachal wildlife department is applying a model including local communities to protect the habitat of the big cats and offer substitute livelihood prospects to the people in the region.
Via: New Indian Express