The Uttarakhand State Government is to develop India’s first Snow Leopard Conservation centre of India. The centre is to be developed by the Uttarakhand forest department and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The main aim of the centre is to conserve and restore Himalayan ecosystems. It also aims to conserve elusive snow leopards and other endangered Himalayan species.
A number of snow leopards have been spotted in the districts of Pithoragarh and Uttarkashi. However, the actual figures are unknown. So far, the state government has concluded that there are 86 snow leopards in the state.
There is a need to identify areas where the snow leopards are being spotted. This can be achieved with the help of forest department and cooperation from local people and military forces.
The step is to promote winter tourism in the state. The state is also in the process of developing six city forests to expand the green area in the cities. This is to be achieved in city forests in Kumaon region, four in hilly districts and two in plains.
Snow Leopard in India
The first National Protocol on Snow Leopard Population Assessment was launched on International Snow Leopard Day (October 23, 2019). The survey was conducted in the states/UTs of Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh. The launch also marked the inaugural of 4th Steering Committee meeting of GSLEP Programme
GSLEP Programme is Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Programme. It is an inter-governmental alliance of all 12 snow leopard range countries. This includes China, Bhutan, Nepal, Mongolia, India, Pakistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan.
The programme mainly focuses on the need of awareness and understanding the value of snow leopard in an ecosystem. It is organised by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
About Snow Leopard
The Snow Leopard region in India contributes to 5% of the global snow leopard region. They are classified as Vulnerable in IUCN list and has been included in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
Conservation Efforts in India
India had launched Project Snow Leopard to promote inclusive approach that involves local communities.
Secure Himalaya is another project being operated in India to conserve Snow Leopard. It is funded by the Global Environment Facility-United Nations Development Programme. The programme is now being operated in four states/UTs namely Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim and Uttarakhand.
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