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Snow leopard project to be launched in 4 states on Oct 2

Funded by the United Nations Development Programme, the project will cover Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Sikkim

dehradun Updated: Sep 28, 2017 20:37 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand,Snow leopard,Conservation project
The actual population of the snow leopard is not known in Uttarakhand; a 2015 survey of Trans-Himalayas reported 39 evidence in the form of pug marks, scats and others.(Photo courtesy WII)

The SECURE (Securing Livelihoods, Conservation, Sustainable Use and Restoration of High Range Himalayan Ecosystem) project will be officially launched on October 2 for conservation of snow leopards in four states.

Union minister Harsh Vardhan will be the chief guest at the event in New Delhi. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has recently downgraded the species from endangered to vulnerable.

Funded by the United Nations Development Programme, the project will cover Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Sikkim. The states will receive Rs 77 crore for securing livelihood opportunities of the people residing in snow leopard-dominated habitat, conserving the habitat and protecting the endangered species.

“The project will be instrumental in providing funds to high altitude protected areas that didn’t use to get much funding for better infrastructure and conservation steps,” chief wildlife warden Digvijay Singh Khati told Hindustan Times on Thursday.

An estimated Rs 24 crore will be provided to Uttarakhand. Darma-Byans landscape and Askot wildlife sanctuary will be key areas under the project.

Although the actual population of the snow leopard is unknown in Uttarakhand, a 2015 survey of Trans Himalayas reported 39 evidence in the form of pug marks, scats and others. After release of funds, Uttarakhand will begin with extensive camera trapping in the identified patches to estimate the population of snow leopards.

“The first task is definitely to understand the population spread. Thereafter, other mandates of the project will be followed,” Dhananjai Mohan, additional principal chief conservator of forest (APCCF) wildlife and intelligence, said.

Mohan will be at the event as the nodal officer of the project in Uttarakhand.

First Published: Sep 28, 2017 20:36 IST