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WWF report on snow leopard

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

WWF report on snow leopard:


Context:

The World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) has released a report titled “Over 100 Years of Snow Leopard Research — A spatially explicit review of the state of knowledge in the snow leopard range”.

Key findings:

  1. More than 70 per cent habitat of the snow leopard, over 12 Asian countries, remains unresearched.
  2. Nepal, India and China had conducted the most snow leopard research, followed by Mongolia and Pakistan.
  3. Despite a major research focus on snow leopard population assessments, less than three per cent of the big cat’s range had robust data on abundance.
  4. Globally, there could be as few as 4,000 snow leopards left in Asia’s high mountains and this remaining population faces continued and emerging threats.

Threats include:

Increased habitat loss and degradation, poaching and conflict with communities.

Snow Leopard conservation in India:

  • India has been conserving snow leopard and its habitat through the Project Snow Leopard (PSL).
  • India is also party to the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) Programme since 2013.
  • For conservation, India has identified three large landscapes, namely, Hemis-Spiti across Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh; Nanda Devi – Gangotri in Uttarakhand; and Khangchendzonga – Tawang across Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Project Snow Leopard (PSL) was launched in 2009 to promote an inclusive and participatory approach to conserve snow leopards and their habitat.
  • Snow Leopard is in the list of 22 critically endangered species for the recovery programme of the Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change. (The recovery programme for critically endangered species in India now includes 22 wildlife species after including caracal, a medium-sized wildcat found.)

Protection:

  • Snow leopards are categorized as ‘Vulnerable’ by IUCN and in the Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.
  • They are listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), revealing the need for the highest conservation status to the species, both globally and in India.

Conservation efforts launched by India are:

  1. Project Snow Leopard (PSL) : It promotes an inclusive and participatory approach to conservation that fully involves local communities.
  2. SECURE Himalaya: Global Environment Facility (GEF)-United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) funded the project on conservation of high altitude biodiversity and reducing the dependency of local communities on the natural ecosystem. This project is now operational in four snow leopard range states, namely, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Sikkim.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. IUCN Conservation status of snow leopard.
  2. About Project Snow Leopard.
  3. Snow Leopards in India- distribution and conservation centres.
  4. About GSLEP.
  5. About Bishkek declaration.

Sources: Down to Earth.