Snow Leopard captured on camera trap, Uttarakhand State, India

The image was released by by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) under Project Snow Leopard.

Here is the 1st on Snow Leopard in one of its last known habitat. The state forest department of Uttarakhand state (with cover of greater Himalayas) of India with help of Wildlife Institute of India (WII) found its first Snow Leopard by the virtue of a camera trap in the Malari region of the greater Himalayas. Malari falls under the Nandadevi Biosphere reserve and is a reserved forest region. The news comes as a great relief of the state forest department as the Snow Leopards were almost extinct from the region. Local farmers and nomadic shepherd have known to poach the cat for good prices of its skin and bone, bringing it on the brink of extinction.

One of the many camera traps installed by the team of WII and state forest department captured the elusive image of Snow Leopard. The region was tipped as a habitat with high density of Leopard but those claims turned out to be incorrect. After several other clipping of Himalayan Tahr, Ibex (Bharal), Marmot and Musk Deer finally there was this cat on the camera. It was indeed a moment of joy for those who are really concerned about the status of this ghost of the mountains.

The image of the cat is breakthrough news of the local forest department as well. The legends of this cat know as ‘Him Tendua’ in Hindi has been part of stories and folklore since time immemorial. Although I heard many a stories from villagers and nomads it was the first time a conclusive evidence was reported in the state where I live.

Congrats to the SLN fraternity. Hope we get many more evidence like these.

Thanks to Yogendra Joshi for this posting. 19Apr11.

3 thoughts on “Snow Leopard captured on camera trap, Uttarakhand State, India”

  1. Shy snow leopard on camera

    The snow leopard that was photographed. Picture credit: Wildlife Institute of India
    Lucknow, April 20: A camera placed in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve in Uttarakhand has captured an image of a snow leopard, the first photographic evidence of the elusive but top carnivore in the Himalayan ecosystem from the state.

    The image shows an adult snow leopard in the Malari region of Uttarakhand where the last indirect evidence such as pugmarks or faeces or unconfirmed sightings by local herders had been reported more than 10 years ago.

    “We suspected it was here, now we know for sure,” said Sambandam Sathyakumar, a senior scientist specialising in endangered species management at the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun.

    Sathyakumar had helped train the Uttarakhand forest staff to install 15 cameras along likely animal trails in the Nanda Devi reserve that were turned on in December last year to spot snow leopards.

    Since then, the cameras captured images of common leopards, blue sheep, musk deer, foxes and a Himalayan pheasant — and then, on April 10, a snow leopard. Conservation scientists believe there may be more in other parts of the 6,000sqkm of the reserve.

    A snow leopard is typically grey in complexion with ringed spots and rosettes of black or brown, soft fur and a striped tail. The Snow Leopard Trust, a US-based conservation agency, estimates that India has between 200 and 600 snow leopards scattered across Jammu and Kashmir’s snowy mountain region, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand’s Himalayan region, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

    “It’s a very shy animal and very difficult to spot,” said Sathyakumar. The last sighting of a snow leopard in India was in June 2009 when a World Wildlife Fund researcher Aiswariya Maheshwari saw one through his binoculars in a mountainous region of Kashmir.

    “It was the shortest seven minutes of my life,” Maheshwari wrote in a log after sighting, the first in Jammu and Kashmir after 10 years. Conservation scientists have speculated whether the trouble in Kashmir and the Kargil conflict of 1999 as well as the dwindling population of wild goats may have contributed to a decline in the numbers of snow leopards.

    The Indian government had launched in 1989 a conservation project for the Snow Leopard, borrowing ideas from Project Tiger, but the project failed to become operational until five years ago.

    “The Uttarakhand government now plans an elaborate protection and management of habitat for the snow leopard in the high Himalayan regions of Uttarakhand to safeguard the feline. The state will try and estimate the population with cameras,” said Shrikand Chandola, chief conservator of forests in the state.

    A forest official said the Gangotri National Park, the Askot Wildlife Sanctuary and the Nanda Devi reserve will be developed as potential habitats under Project Snow Leopard.

  2. Philosophically leoparards studies reveal complicated as well as Humen bieng survival on planet, eventhough the genre of biodiversity make them central,there for both species common leopard and snow leopard transition open ways to overall phenomenon understanding,congratulation to Sathya Kumar and their team, again you are lucky to to chance expension knowledge from such landscape where are couple of leopards species find at a time.
    I would love to share such experiances to apply them in Pakistan where we too face same issues on transition of both species.

  3. November 2010 was the last sighting of snow leopard in India. It was sighted in Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary by me but unfortunately it was unpublished but hope soon we will get a paper on this.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.