Why in news?
- And after a long time a snow leopard was spotted in the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh in February 2020.
- The snow leopard (also called ounce) is found in high mountains in 12 countries of Central Asia.
- In India, it inhabits the higher Himalayan and trans-Himalayan landscape in the five states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
- Snow leopards are not known to be aggressive toward humans.
- It is the National Heritage Animal of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
- IUCN status – Vulnerable
Conservation efforts in India and the world:
- World Wildlife Fund (WWF) focuses on reducing human-leopard conflict and rural development, stopping mining in fragile snow leopard habitat.
- It supports mobile anti-poaching activities.
- It works together with TRAFFIC, to eliminate the illegal trade of snow leopard fur, bones and other body parts.
- WWF has developed and launched Third Pole Geo Lab, an interactive web-based tool and database for snow leopard conservation, climate change, and water security issues in Asia’s high mountains.
- The USAID-funded, $7.3 million Conservation and Adaptation in Asia’s High Mountain Landscapes and Communities project will conduct field activities in and build alliances among six of the snow leopard’s 12 range countries – Bhutan, India, Nepal, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan.
- Snow Leopard Trust is a non-profit organization in Washington which is working towards Snow Leopard conservation.
India Project Snow Leopard:
- It was launched in 2009 to safeguard and conserve India’s unique natural heritage of high altitude wildlife populations and their habitats by promoting conservation through participatory policies and actions.
- It has been catalyzed by Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) and involves government and non-governmental stakeholders from the states.
- The strategy document stresses on knowledge based, landscape level and participatory management of wildlife in the region.
- Each of the five range states will identify one landscape under the project.
- Surveys will be conducted to identify multiple ‘cores’ where human use will be minimized, harmonized or completely stopped in a consultative process with the community.
- The project will include representation from the village cluster-level up to a steering committee at the central-level.