SNOW LEOPARD (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     3rd January 2024        
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Context: The snow leopard, the mysterious and enigmatic symbol of High Asia with its host of mountain ranges stretching from the Altai to the Himalayas, is now the national symbol of Kyrgyzstan.

Snow Leopard

  • Scientific Name: Panthera uncia
  • Top Predator: Snow leopards act as an indicator of the health of the mountain ecosystem in which they live, due to their position as the top predator in the food web.
  • Conservation Status:

oIUCN: Vulnerable.

oCITES: Appendix I.

oIndian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule-I.

  • Habitat: Across the mountainous landscape of central Asia, which covers different parts of the Himalayas such as Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Sikkim.
  • Threat: Largely threatened because of the loss of natural prey species, retaliatory killing due to conflict with humans and illegal trade of its fur and bones.
  • Initiatives Taken

oGlobal Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Programme (GSLEP): It is an unprecedented alliance of all snow leopard range countries, non-governmental organizations, multi-lateral institutions, scientists and local communities, united by one goal: saving the snow leopard and its mountain ecosystems.

oThe SECURE Himalaya project: Financially supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), aims to preserve high altitude biodiversity and diminish the reliance of local communities on the natural ecosystem.

oProject Snow Leopard (PSL): Advocates for an inclusive and participatory strategy to safeguard snow leopards and their habitats.

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