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Snow Leopard Population Assessment Report Released

Utkarsh Classes 30-01-2024
Snow Leopard Population Assessment Report Released Report 5 min read

Bhupender Yadav, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, released the report on the status of Snow Leopards in India during the National Board for Wildlife meeting held in New Delhi.

About Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India (SPAI) Program

  • The Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India (SPAI) Program has reported a snow leopard population of 718 in India. This is the first time such an assessment has been conducted.
  • The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is the national coordinator for this exercise. 
  • The programme was carried out with the support of all snow leopard range states and two conservation partners, the Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysuru and WWF-India.

The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is an autonomous institution of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India. It was established in 1982.

  • The SPAI systematically covered over 70% of the snow leopard range in the country. 
  • It involved forest and wildlife staff, researchers, volunteers and contributions from knowledge partners. 
  • The initial stage consisted of assessing the distribution of snow leopards, while also including habitat covariates in the analysis. 
  • This aligns with the guidelines set by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in 2019 for the national population assessment of snow leopards in India.

Approach of SPAI Program

  • This approach involved sampling the occupancy-based distribution range using a systematic method. 
  • The second step used camera traps to estimate snow leopard abundance in each stratified region.

States having Snow Leopard

According to data analysis, the estimated population in various states is as follows: Ladakh (477), Uttarakhand (124), Himachal Pradesh (51), Arunachal Pradesh (36), Sikkim (21) and Jammu and Kashmir (9).

What is required to save a Snow Leopard?

  • The report highlights the importance of establishing a dedicated Snow Leopard Cell at WII under the MoEFCC. 
  • The primary focus of this cell would be on long-term monitoring of Snow Leopard. This will be supported by well-structured study designs and consistent field surveys. 
  • Consistent monitoring is helpful to ensure the long-term survival of Snow Leopards. 
  • Hence, states and UTs should consider adopting a periodic population estimation approach (every 4th year) in the Snow Leopard range. 
  • These regular assessments will provide valuable insights for identifying challenges, addressing threats and formulating effective conservation strategies.

About Snow Leopard

  • The snow leopard's range extends to 12 countries across Asia: Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
  • Habitat in India: Hemis National Park, Gangotri National Park, Khangchendzonga National park and Great Himalayan National Park are some protected areas where snow leopards are known to be found.
  • Threats: Habitat loss, poaching and increasing conflict with communities have seen the world’s snow leopard population reduce drastically. 

Status according to IUCN: Vulnerable

FAQ

Answer: Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India (SPAI) Program

Answer: 718

Answer: Vulnerable

Answer: Ladakh
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