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Business News/ News / India says its elusive snow leopard population is at 718
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India says its elusive snow leopard population is at 718

13,450 km of trails were surveyed, while camera traps were deployed at 1,971 locations

Based on data analysis from the report, Ladakh, with 477 individuals, is the leading snow leopard habitat in India.Premium
Based on data analysis from the report, Ladakh, with 477 individuals, is the leading snow leopard habitat in India.

New Delhi: The first scientific survey of the snow leopard in India shows the country is home to 718 of the elusive cats, the government said on Tuesday.

A population assessment report, based on a study conducted by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), was released by Union minister of environment, forest and climate change Bhupender Yadav.

The report called for establishing a dedicated ‘snow leopard cell’ at WII under the ministry, with a focus on long-term population monitoring.

“States and union territories (UTs) can consider adopting a periodic population estimation approach (every 4th year) in the snow leopard range. These regular assessments will offer valuable insights for identifying challenges, addressing threats, and formulating effective conservation strategies," added the population assessment report.

The exercise, conducted from 2019 to 2023, covered approximately 120,000 sq km of snow leopard habitat across the trans-Himalayan region, including Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

Surveyors used a two-step method. The first involved an evaluation of the snow leopard’s spatial distribution.

In the second step, camera traps were used to estimate their population.

During the exercise, 13,450 km of trails were surveyed, while camera traps were deployed at 1,971 locations.

A total of 241 snow leopards were photographed.

Based on data analysis from the report, Ladakh, with 477 individuals, is the leading snow leopard habitat in India, followed by Uttarakhand (124), Himachal Pradesh (51), Arunachal Pradesh (36), Sikkim (21) and Jammu and Kashmir (9).

Globally, the snow leopard is listed as a vulnerable species.

In India it is given the highest wildlife protection status.

Snow leopards are estimated to number between 3,000 and 7,000 worldwide. China is known to have the biggest population of the animals, but exact numbers are not known.

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Published: 30 Jan 2024, 10:54 PM IST
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