Nepalese conservationists recently announced that they had successfully radio-collared a second snow leopard near Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain.
- Data received from the satellite collar will enable conservationists to identify critical habitats for the elusive species, including trans boundary links across India and China.
- The collaring expedition was led by the government of Nepal in partnership with the WWF, the National Trust for Nature Conservation, the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project and citizen scientists from the local Snow Leopard Conservation Committee.
- The radio collaring was especially vital in helping identify snow leopard hotspots and managing local logistics.
- There is an estimated 350 to 590 snow leopards in Nepal as per 2009 population data on the species.
Snow Leopards – Quick Facts:
- They are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
- They inhabit alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m (9,800 to 14,800 ft). In the northern range countries, they also occur at lower elevations.
- The snow leopard is the National Heritage Animal of Pakistan.
- Their habitat extends through twelve countries: Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. China contains as much as 60% of all snow leopard habitat areas.
- In India, their geographical range encompasses a large part of the western Himalayas including the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern Himalayas.
- The snow leopard, like all big cats, is listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), which makes trading of animal body parts (i.e., fur, bones and meat) illegal in signatory countries. It is also protected by several national laws in its range countries.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, WWF.