International Snow Leopard Day was observed on 23 October.
- The day came into being with the adoption of the Bishkek Declaration by 12 countries on the conservation of snow leopards.
- The 12 countries included, India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Mongolia, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
- 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.
On this day this year, the Indian government has launched community volunteer programme “HimalSanrakshak” to protect snow leopards.
During the virtual meet, Shri Supriyo stated that 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. Shri Supriyo emphasised that states together with Government of India should resolve to bring up the population of snow leopards in India in the next five years.
It also ensures that the ecological balance is maintained in these fragile ecosystems.This multi-lateral programme comprises of 12 snow leopard range countries and they have developed national priorities and identified large landscapes to support viable populations.
|About Snow Leopard
|The geographical range of the species:
Threat: Factors that have contributed to the decline in the snow leopard populations include, reduction in prey populations, illegal poaching and increased human population infiltration into the species habitat and illegal trade of wildlife parts and products among others.
Snow leopard conservation efforts in India:
- Project Snow Leopard (PSL): It was launched in 2009
- It promotes an inclusive and participatory approach to conservation that fully involves local communities.
- In line with other projects, this initiative exclusively focuses on developing landscape-based management plans, habitat restoration plans, livelihoods improvement, mitigation of wildlife crime and illegal trade in wildlife, human-wildlife conflict mitigation strategies, improving awareness and communications strategies.
- Status of a flagship species: The Government of India has identified it as a flagship species for the high-altitude Himalayas.
- Identification of three large landscapes: 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.
- The Centre hosted the 4th Steering Committee of the GSLEP program in October 2019 at New Delhi. This meeting resulted in the “New Delhi Statement” of strengthening the resolve of the snow leopard range countries towards conservation of the mountain ecosystems of Central and South Asia.
- Population monitoring:
First National Protocol was also launched last year on Population Assessment which has been very useful for monitoring populations.In line with other projects, this initiative exclusively focuses on developing landscape-based management plans, habitat restoration plans, livelihoods improvement, mitigation of wildlife crime and illegal trade in wildlife, human-wildlife conflict mitigation strategies, improving awareness and communications strategies.
The project also encourages the States and UTs to adopt innovative strategies to resolve issues related to multi-stakeholder landscape management, human-wildlife conflicts, wildlife crime and trade in wildlife parts and products, capacity building, climate-smart energy solutions etc.