UNESCO Accepts World Heritage Site Nomination for Great Himalayan National Park

Already many National Parks across India have been honoured to have their names in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Now joining them soon will be the Great Himalayan National Park located in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh.

The nomination for the prestigious status for the National Park had been sent by the Himachal Pradesh state’s wildlife and forest department to UNESCO and the same has been accepted.

The National Park will be honoured with the title next year after its evaluation by a team of international wildlife experts from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (“ICUN”).

The topography of the Great Himalayan National Park is made up of alpine and coniferous forest, emerald pastures, snow capped peaks, steep valleys and a number of waterfalls and small streams that continue to flow throughout the year. Located at an altitude of 1500 to 6000 mm the National Park is spread over 1,171 sq kms. The park has one of the richest biodiversities in the Western Himalayas and a variety of flora, fauna and avian species can be spotted here.

The park remains snow covered for most part of the year. However here one can spot some of the many rare and endangered species such as wild mountain goats like the bharal, goral and serow, the brown bear, leopards and the elusive snow leopard, rare Nilgiri Tahr and red fox among many others. The Great Himalayan National Park also houses a large number of bird species like Monal, Koklass and Western Tragopan. Trekking in these Himalayan mountains is the best way to spot this exotic wildlife

In addition to accepting the nomination of the Great Himalayan National Park as a World Heritage Site, the nominations of three other parks and sanctuaries have also been accepted by UNESCO- the Bhitarkanika National Park in Orissa, home to the largest population of giant salt water crocodiles in Asia, the Neora Valley National Park in West Bengal and the Desert National Park located in Jaisalmer in Thar Desert in Rajasthan. One can spot here the Great Indian Bustard, a magnificent but endangered bird species and a number of fossils, both plants and animals which date as old as 180 million years.

Some of the famous National Parks in India that are already listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list are Kaziranga National Park and Manas National Park in Assam, Keoladeo Ghana National Park in Rajasthan, Sunderban National Park in West Bengal and Nanda Devi National Park and Valley of Flowers National Park in Uttarakhand.

The Himachal Pradesh state government in addition to making a successful impact in the World Heritage list nominations has many other projects stated to benefit the wildlife.

The Himalayan Snow Leopard Research Centre would soon be developed near Kibbar village of Spiti valley at a cost of Rs. 5.15 crore to preserve this wild life species in their natural habitat and carry research and development programme over the same time.

The state government will also shortly start a breeding programme of the Himalayan monal, a pheasant species, near Manali. The Conservation Breeding Phesantry for Himalayan Monal will be developed near Manali by spending Rs. 2 crore in the first phase.


Five Snow Leopard Conservation Grant Recipients Announced

The Snow Leopard Conservation Grants Program (SLCGP) will be funding five projects in 2012.

This year, thanks largely to the generosity of our important partner the Whitley Fund for Nature (www.whitleyaward.org), we are able to provide an unprecedented level of support for snow leopards since the inception of SLCGP. This is a 60 % improvement over last year.

SLN is also grateful to the Snow Leopard Conservancy (www.snowleopardconservancy.org) for continuing their support, and to the Snow Leopard Trust (www.snowleopard.org) for giving even more than in earlier years.

The selected projects are:

– Flagship Species of the Pamir Range, Pakistan: Exploring Status and Conservation Hotspots (Jaffar Ud Din and Muhammad Ali Nawaz: Pakistan)

– Snow leopard toolkits for monastic leaders in Bhutan (Susan Higgins, Nawang Auden, Broughton Coburn: US, Bhutan)

– Re-assessment of livestock depredation by snow leopard in the Phu Valley of Manang after 17 years (Ashish Adhikari: Nepal)

– Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) response to habitat, prey and anthropogenic factors at multiple spatial scales in a multi-use landscape (Rishi Kumar Sharma: India)

– Assessing the distribution, status and conservation needs of snow leopard in a natural World Heritage in Sichuan, China (Wei Liu: US, China)

A review panel of 16 experts contributed their time and effort in helping select the applicants.
Further details of the selected projects and the review panel will shortly be posted on our website, https://snowleopardnetwork.org.

Snow Leopard Conservation Project Voted Number One in Competition Hosted by BBC World News and Newsweek

Wildlife Charity Wins World Challenge Competition
Snow Leopard Conservation Project Voted Number One in Competition Hosted by BBC World News and Newsweek

November 30th, 2011—Seattle, WA
A program developed by the Snow Leopard Trust, a Seattle-based conservation organization, has won first place in the World Challenge. The program, called ‘Snow Leopard Enterprises,’ was created to protect endangered snow leopards in Mongolia. It was one of 12 projects selected for the global World Challenge competition run by BBC World News and Newsweek Magazine in association with Shell.

Snow Leopard Enterprises was chosen by World Challenge as an innovative business model that also benefits the environment. The program helps herders in Mongolia make and sell fine wool handicrafts to increase their income. In turn, herders sign conservation contracts pledging to protect snow leopards living in their area.

“Snow Leopard Enterprise works with over 250 families in Mongolia to protect snow leopards and improve the quality of life for herder families,” says Brad Rutherford, Executive Director of the Snow Leopard Trust, who visited with program participants in August. In 2010, every pledge to protect snow leopards was upheld and snow leopards were kept safe across over 25 communities. “Through Snow Leopard Enterprises, we’re improving the conservation status of snow leopards across roughly 50,000 square kilometers of prime snow habitat in Mongolia,” says Rutherford, “and thanks to the World Challenge we’ve been able to increase recognition and support for this important program.”

More than 600 proposals were submitted to World Challenge in 2011, from which a panel of judges selected 12 projects to compete. According to BBC World News, over 70,000 voted were cast for the 12 projects and the top three winners were chosen based solely on the number of public votes.

With the most number of votes, Snow Leopard Enterprises earned the coveted top spot in the competition. As a first place winner, the Snow Leopard Trust will receive a cash prize of $20,000 to advance conservation for snow leopards and Snow Leopard Enterprises will be featured in international versions of Newsweek Magazine and on BBC World News. The awards ceremony will be televised by BBC on December 3rd, 2011.

Every Snow Leopard Enterprises handicraft is unique, handcrafted, and represents a promise to protect snow leopards. The crafts are available through the Snow Leopard Trust’s online store snowleopard.org/shop with sales benefiting snow leopard conservation.

About the Snow Leopard Trust

Snow leopards are one of the most endangered big cats in the world with only 4,000-6,500 believed to be left in the wild. The Snow Leopard Trust is a non-profit organization founded in 1981 whose mission is to protect snow leopards and their mountain ecosystem through a balanced approach that addresses the needs of local people and the environment. Snow Leopard Enterprises is the flagship program of the Snow Leopard Trust and has been active in Mongolia for over a decade. More information at www.snowleopard.org

Related links:

A video about Snow Leopard Enterprises made for the World Challenge can be found http://www.theworldchallenge.co.uk/finalists/8/changing_spots

Addition content available at:






Makenna O’Meara

Work: 206.632.2421

Cell: 206.290.4613

Email: Makenna@snowleopard.org

Snow leopards return to Kargil areas

Jammu, November 28 – Tribune India
With peace in the Kargil sector, snow leopards are again seen in the area. Due to the Kargil War in 1999, most of the wildlife species, including snow leopards, had abandoned their habitats in Kargil. However, with the improvement in the situation, a big cat with two cubs had been spotted in the area.

Earlier, locals claimed that they had seen the animal, though there was no evidence of the presence of the big cat, post-Kargil War.

Jigmet Takpa, Regional Wildlife Warden, Ladakh, told The Tribune over the phone that these big cats, having tails as long as their bodies, which had almost abandoned their habitats in Kargil after 1999, had returned to the area.

“Though Leh and Kargil are the best suitable habitats for this endangered specie, the snow leopards were not seen in Kargil during the past few years,” said Takpa.

He added, “Poaching was a major problem. However, it has now been brought under control and the big cats can once again be seen in Kargil.”

Takpa said there were nearly 400 snow leopards in the region comprising Leh and Kargil districts.

“We have one national park and two wildlife sanctuaries here. These animals move about freely in an area of 97,000 sq km,” he said.

Giving further details, Takpa said the Wildlife Department had launched various projects in association with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and other agencies to save and attract more snow leopards. “The results are very positive. The situation has improved in Leh also, where these big cats can be easily seen,” he said.

Takpa lauded the role of the Army in the return of the snow leopards to Kargil. “The Army has played a major role in controlling poaching, which was the biggest threat to the animal. No one can move freely with a weapon, without the permission of the Army. These animals face no threat from poachers now.”
Source: http://www.resourceshimalaya.org/index.php?s=trcontent&a=browse&con_id=78b1a0c3bc7e0af751de2d58e0aa6036&title=Dec%2001;%20No.184

First camera-trap image of Nepal’s Snow Leopard released

Kathmandu, Nepal – The first picture of a snow leopard taken by a camera trap on 24 October 2011 in Khambachen valley of Kangchenjunga was released today by WWF-Nepal.

Ten camera traps (Moultrie D- 40) were installed in the valleys of Nagphinda, Khambachen, Lohanak and Jimbubari in Kangchenjunga Conservation Area in October 2011 under a pioneering initiative to monitor snow leopards in Nepal’s Himalayas. The monitoring is being led by local communities through the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area Management Council and the Snow Leopard Conservation Committee-Ghunsa. It is expected that the camera traps will guide the estimation of snow leopard populations in the future.

“The camera traps are a means to empower local communities to lead conservation efforts of snow leopards,” stated Mr. Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF-Nepal. “With habitat loss, poaching and retaliatory killing by herders posing as major threats to snow leopards, community stewardship in conservation is key to the protection of snow leopards,” he added.

The camera traps were installed with the support of WWF-Nepal and Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation through financial assistance received from WWF-UK.

For more information, contact:

Akash Shrestha
Communications and Marketing Manager, WWF Nepal
Email: akash.shrestha@wwfnepal.org Mobile: +977 9801057566

Simrika SHARMA
Communications Officer, WWF Nepal
Email: simrika.sharma@wwfnepal.org Mobile: +977 9801092692

Snow Leopards caught on camera on Altai Republic’s Chikhacheva Ridge

November 29, 2011 – Congratulations to Sergei Spitsyn and Misha Paltsyn!

Pictures available here: http://altaiproject.org/?p=2061

Participants in an expedition sponsored jointly by Arkhar and Altaisky State Biosphere Reserve have obtained the first images of snow leopard and manul (Pallas) cat on the Russian side of Altai Republic’s Chikhacheva Ridge using camera traps.

The first stage of efforts to survey Chikhacheva Ridge’s snow leopard population using camera traps has been completed. This was also the first time that the population living on this ridge that bridges the Russia-Mongolia border was surveyed simultaneously on both sides of the border. In Altai Republic, staff from Arkhar and Altaisky Biosphere Reserve participated in the field expedition, joined by staff from Ubsunurskaya Basin Biosphere Reserve in Tyva Republic and Mongolian specialists from Silkkhemin Nuru National Park and WWF-Mongolia. The Altai Republic expedition was supported technically and financially and otherwise by Snow Leopard Conservancy, WWF-Russia, SUNY-ESF, and Panthera Foundation. Particular thanks to SUNY-ESF and Panthera Foundation for providing camera traps.

The traditional methodology used for this survey is based on the fact that each individual snow leopard has unique markings on its coat. Comparing photos from different cameras permits identification of individual animals and enables a count of the number of snow leopards living in the study region. Arkhar’s and Altaisky Biosphere Reserve’s expedition participants were able to capture snow leopard and manul (Pallas) cat images for the first time ever on the Russian side of Chikhacheva Ridge. In May 2011, a joint Russian-Mongolian expedition obtained a brief video of a snow leopard on the Mongolian side. To date, photographs of what are assumed to be two snow leopards were obtained at a distance of approximately 20 km apart. One camera recorded a night image of another member of the cat family – the manul (Pallas) cat, also listed in the Russian Red Book.

These camera traps work in extreme conditions at over 3000 m (9842 ft) above sea level. There are 10 such cameras in operation on Chikhacheva Ridge. These “smart” tools will track snow leopard movements on the ridge throughout the winter and will help scientists to evaluate the number of animals in this transboundary population of snow leopards. Simultaneous operation of camera traps along the full length of the ridge in both Altai and Tyva Republics in Russia and in Mongolia will gather unique data about snow leopards in this region.

WWF experts believe that the transboundary population of snow leopard living on Chikhacheva Ridge is a key group, essential to the survival of this species within Russia. This population connects Russian snow leopards with the nearest group in Mongolia. The total transboundary snow leopard population on Chikhacheva Ridge is estimated at 10-15 animals.

WWF-Altai-Sayan and Arkhar NGO
Gorno-Altaisk, Altai Republic, Russia
Mikhail Paltsyn (paltsyn@mail.ru, +7 (903) 956-7389)

The Altai Project has worked in partnership with Arkhar, Altaisky Biosphere Reserve, SUNY-ESF, Snow Leopard Conservancy, and WWF-Altai-Sayan to provide extensive logistical and linguistic support of snow leopard conservation in Altai, as well as providing its own small grants program for anti-poaching and enforcement patrols across the entire Republic.

Jennifer Castner
Director, The Altai Project
Moss Beach, CA
(o) +1.650.563.9098
(c) +1.510.393.5525


Strengthening communities and protecting nature in Altai