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International Snow Leopard Day- October 23:

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

 

Context:

Oct 23 is recognised as International Snow Leopard Day.

current affairs

 

Background:

The day came into being with the adoption of the Bishkek Declaration by 12 countries on the conservation of snow leopards.

About Snow Leopard:

Scientific name: Panthera uncia.

Habitat: Snow leopards live in the mountains of Central Asia.

Numbers: There are only between 3,920 and 6,390 snow leopards left in the wild.

Range extends through twelve countries: Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

current affairs

 

Conservation Status: Snow leopards were considered endangered species until 2017 but the status was changed to vulnerable later in the year.

Conservation efforts- National level:

As per reports, India is home to about 450-500 snow leopards which can be spotted in the upper Himalayan regions of the country.

  1. India has been conserving snow leopards and their habitats through the Project Snow Leopard (PSL).
  2. India has also been part of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) Programme since 2013.
  3. 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.
  4. Snow Leopard is in the list of 22 critically endangered species for the recovery programme of the Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change.
  5. 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.
  6. Community volunteer programme “HimalSanrakshak” to protect snow leopards.

 

Conservation efforts- International level:

  • In 2013, the Bishkek Declaration set a goal of protecting at least 20 snow leopard landscapes with viable snow leopard populations by 2020, and led to the formation of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP). Since then, October 23 is commemorated each year as International Snow Leopard Day.
  • The Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Programme (GSLEP) was also launched on the same day to address high-mountain development issues using conservation of the snow leopard as a flagship.

 

Challenges to their conservation:

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

 

Insta Curious:

Have you heard about the Snow Leopard Trust? What are its objectives? Reference: read this

 

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 the Bishkek declaration.

Mains Link:

Comment on national level efforts to conserve the snow leopard species in India.

Sources: the Hindu.