73 snow leopards estimated in Himachal Pradesh



A survey to assess the population of snow leopards in Himachal Pradesh has found that there are an estimated 73 big cats in the Himalayan state, Forest minister Rakesh Pathania said on Friday.

Snow leopards live in several Himalayan states of India but a scientific estimate of their population has never been made before anywhere in the country because the animal lives in remote, high-altitude regions and is elusive by nature.

In Himachal Pradesh, the survey to assess the population of snow leopards was held by the state wildlife wing in collaboration with the Nature Conservation Foundation Mysore following the Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India protocols set by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.

The minister said the study covered the entire potential snow leopard habitat of Himachal Pradesh, an area of 26,112 square kilometers, utilising a stratified sampling design.

As part of the assessment, camera trapping surveys were conducted at 10 sites to representatively sample all the strata i.e. high, low and unknown, Pathania said.

During the survey, Snow leopards were detected at all the 10 sites namely Bhaga, Chandra, Bharmour, Kullu, Miyar, Pin, Baspa, Tabo, Hangrang and Spiti, suggesting that the animal was found in the entire snow leopard habitat in Himachal Pradesh either as resident individuals of a population or as dispersing individuals navigating through these connecting habitats. (PTI)