International Snow Leopard Day is celebrated on 23rd October 2020
Habitat of Snow Leopard
- It lives extreme altitudes in the steep mountains of the Himalayas and in a bitterly cold climate
- The snow leopard is the apex predator in the Indian Himalayas and is considered as the ‘flagship’ for the conservation of the high-altitude landscape.
- In India, their geographical range encompasses a large part of the western Himalayas including the states and UTs of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
Protection of Snow Leopard
It has been listed under Appendix I of the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals, and in 2002 its status was elevated to ‘requiring Concerted Action’.
Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) Programme:
- It seeks to address high-mountain development issues using the conservation of the charismatic and endangered snow leopard as a flagship
- The GSLEP is a range-wide effort that unites range country governments, non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations, local communities, and the private sector around a shared vision to conserve snow leopards and their valuable high-mountain ecosystems.
- Secure 20 by 2020 which seeks to secure at least 20 snow leopard landscapes across the cat’s range by 2020 is part of GSLEP
India’s initiatives related to Snow Leopard
- Project Snow Leopard (PSL):
- The PSL was launched in 2009
- Government of India has been conserving snow leopard and its habitat through this Project
- India is also a party to the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) Programme since 2013.
- The Centre hosted the 4th Steering Committee of the GSLEP program in October 2019 at New Delhi.
- The Government of India has identified the snow leopard as a flagship species for the high-altitude Himalayas.
- First National Protocol was also launched last year on Snow Leopard Population Assessment which has been very useful for monitoring populations.