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Snow leopard sighted at Nelong in Gangotri National Park

he snow leopard, found at an altitude of 3,000m, is a Schedule I animal under the Wildlife Protection Act of India and is listed as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

india Updated: Jul 06, 2019 23:34 IST
Suparna Roy
Suparna Roy
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Indo-Tibetan Border Police,Snow leopard,India news
Screengrab(Photo: Twitter/ANI)

A video of a snow leopard crossing a road near Nelong valley in Gangotri National Park has gone viral on the social media after a video was uploaded by an Indian Forest Service officer.

NB Sharma, deputy director of Gangotri National Park, said, “The video was shot by an Indo-Tibetan Border Police official around 10 days ago. The video was then shared with forest department officials by the ITBP personnel. The leopard was sighted at the Naga tri-section point, around 10 km ahead of Nelong in Gangotri National Park.”

He said the leopard was sighted at 4,000m altitude.

The forest official said, “Such a sighting is a positive indication of conservation efforts for the animal that the big cat is being seen during the day time. Snow leopards are usually very elusive and are not easily spotted during the day, but it does move downwards at times for prey base. But this can indicate that the population of snow leopards improving in that area.”

The snow leopard, found at an altitude of 3,000m, is a Schedule I animal under the Wildlife Protection Act of India and is listed as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

S Sathyakumar, a senior scientist with Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India, who has worked on conservation projects on snow leopards across the country, said, “The place where the snow leopard was spotted in Gangotri National Park is a habitat of the big cat. We have got a lot of data on snow leopards from that area on camera traps and it is its natural habitat.”

“Where ever roads have been built through protected wildlife sites, animals also use them, be it tigers, elephants or leopards. This time the only difference is that the animal has been caught on camera, but it is usual for the animal to be spotted there,” added the senior scientist.

He further informed that based on habitat quality and snow leopard density estimates from different study areas in India, an estimate based on extrapolations have been made. According to that, “India may have about 516 snow leopards.”

The estimated distribution is across Himalayan states of Uttarakhand (86), Himachal Pradesh (90), Jammu and Kashmir (285), Sikkim (13) and Arunachal Pradesh (42).

First Published: Jul 06, 2019 23:33 IST