A recent study by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) on snow leopard (Panthera uncia) has thrown up interesting insights on the elusive mountain cat and its prey species.
- The study under the National Mission on Himalayan Studies revealed a strong link between habitat use by snow leopard and its prey species Siberian ibex and blue sheep.
GS III- Environment and Ecology
Dimensions of the Article:
- About the Snow leopard
- Snow Leopards in India and their conservation
About the Snow leopard
- The snow leopard is a large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia.
- It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
- The snow leopard, like all big cats, is listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), which makes trading of animal body parts (i.e., fur, bones and meat) illegal in CITES signatory countries.
- Global population is estimated to number less than 10,000 mature Snow Leopards.
- It inhabits alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m.
- It is threatened by poaching and habitat destruction following infrastructural developments.
Snow Leopards in India and their conservation
- In India, their geographical range encompasses a large part of the western Himalayas including the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern Himalayas. The last three states form part of the Eastern Himalayas – a priority global region of WWF and the Living Himalayas Network Initiative.
- Project Snow Leopard (PSL): It promotes an inclusive and participatory approach to conservation that fully involves local communities.
- SECURE Himalaya: Global Environment Facility (GEF)-United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) funded the project on conservation of high-altitude biodiversity and reducing the dependency of local communities on the natural ecosystem. This project is now operational in four snow leopard range states, namely, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Sikkim.
-Source: The Hindu