Uttarakhand to conduct snow leopard census

Dehra Dun : With the Wildlife Institute of India and the state forest department pooling in their efforts to make a count of the animals inhabiting the higher reaches of the trans-Himalayan region along the China and Tibet borders, there are hopes amongst wildlife lovers that the number of snow leopards in the region may finally be known.

 

Snow leopard

It may be mentioned here that not much is known about the snow leopard population not only in Uttarakhand but the country. A reason for this is the heights at which this most beautiful of the felines live and the vagaries of the weather at these heights. Because of these constraints not many efforts have been made at undertaking a census of snow leopards, and the results of those that may have been done, have been taken with a pinch of salt.

However, with the Wildlife Institute of India and the state forest department willing ton undertake a census of all animals in the heights from June this year, there is growing enthusiasm that it will reveal not only the numbers of the evasive snow leopards but also the brown bear, black bear and even yaks that are known to frequent these heights.

The region that will be included in the census are the Govind Pashi Vihar, Gangotri National Park, areas of Joshimath, Bageshwar, Pithoragarh and Askot. Sources said that almost 300 personnel of the Wildlife Institute and the state forest department will be involved in the exercise and if the weather allows the count should be over by the end of June itself.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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