The snow leopard is one of the rarest animals found in India. Inhabiting the higher reaches of Himalayas in the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, it is difficult to sight them.
Last year, a survey was conducted to assess the population of snow leopards across Himachal Pradesh, one of their largest habitats and the results have been encouraging till now.
Taking one step forward, the Uttarakhand government has decided to open India’s first Snow Leopard Conservation Centre, to ensure the conservation of the rare species
Chairing a meeting in this regard, Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat, said:
Areas where snow leopards have been seen in the last few years, such areas should be identified by the forest department in collaboration with local people and military forces. Snow leopards should be estimated in these areas by making grids. The conservation of snow leopards and other wildlife in the area will give a boost to winter tourism in the state.
The conservation centre will be set up along United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as part of its six-year project, SECURE Himalayas.
While no full-fledged assessment of the snow leopard population has been conducted in the state, several independent researches show that the state currently has 86 individuals. Poaching and habitat destruction are some of the major threats the species face in India.