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Updated January 30th, 2024 at 18:00 IST

Scientific Exercise Reveals India's Snow Leopard Population: Ladakh Dominates with 477

India's first scientific snow leopard assessment finds 718, with Ladakh leading at 477. SPAI report highlights crucial conservation insights.

Garvit Parashar
Scientific Exercise Reveals India's Snow Leopard Population
Scientific Exercise Reveals India's Snow Leopard Population | Image:ANI
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Ladakh: There is good news for all the people who take a keen interest in wildlife and wild animals. A news report coming from the The Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India (SPAI) has reported 718 snow leopards. This first ever exercise has been carried out by the Wildlife Institute of Indian (WII).

Based on this report, Ladakh has the highest number of Snow Leopards (477), after that comes Uttarakhand with 124, Himachal Pradesh (51), Arunachal Pradesh (36), Sikkim (21) and Jammu and Kashmir (9).

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The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) served as the central coordinator for this initiative, conducted with the collaboration of all snow leopard range states, the Nature Conservation Foundation in Mysuru, and WWF-India.

Snow Leopard population reaches 718 in India

The Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India (SPAI) encompassed more than 70% of the anticipated snow leopard habitat in the nation. It engaged the participation of forest and wildlife personnel, researchers, volunteers, and contributions from various knowledge partners. The covered approximately 107,594 Km2 area of crucial snow leopard habitat across the Himalayan region, including UTs of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. They also went to the states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

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This exercise took place from 2019 to 2023 using a two step framework, which gave the current results.

In the first step, the assessment of snow leopard spatial distribution was conducted, incorporating habitat covariates in accordance with the guidelines outlined for the national population assessment of snow leopards.

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Ladakh has 477 Snow Leopards 

Moving on to the subsequent stage, the estimation of snow leopard habitat was carried out through the utilisation of camera traps deployed in each region. A comprehensive survey covering approximately 13,450 km of trails was executed to record snow leopard signs. Simultaneously, camera traps were strategically positioned at 1,971 locations.

The findings revealed that snow leopard occupancy was documented in an extensive area of 93,392 km², with a projected presence in 100,841 km². A total of 241 distinct snow leopards were captured through photographic evidence.

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The report underscores the necessity of establishing a dedicated Snow Leopard Cell at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC). The primary focus of this cell would be on long-term population monitoring, supported by meticulously designed studies and consistent field surveys.

 

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Published January 30th, 2024 at 17:54 IST

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