New WWF camera trap captures snow leopard in Nepal

Posted on 22 November 2011

Camera traps installed by WWF in the Nepalese Himalayas last month have captured their first picture of an endangered snow leopard. The cameras are part of a community monitoring project that will help WWF estimate number of snow leopards in area and determine the best way to conserve them.

“The camera traps are a means to empower local communities to lead conservation efforts of snow leopards,” stated 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.

There are only about 6,000 snow leopards remaining in the wild. The animals stand to lose over a third of their habitat to climate change in the coming decades.

Last week, the Eastern Himalayan nations of Bhutan, Nepal, India and Bangladesh met to address the impacts of climate change on food, water and energy security, as well as on biodiversity (more here on the Climate Summit for a Living Himalayas). The countries agreed to collaborate on adaptation efforts to protect water sources, ensure sustainable food production, increase access to clean energy, and coordinate disaster management.

“The framework of cooperation will see the creation of an interconnected mosaic of conservation spaces across the Eastern Himalayas, crucial for communities that rely on the region’s natural resources for their survival and the protection of endangered species such as the snow leopard,” said Liisa Rohweder, CEO of WWF-Finland.

This graph shows the estimated snow leopard population by country. The elusive nature of the species makes it difficult to obtain an accurate population count.