On the occasion of International Snow Leopard Day, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Wednesday that a protocol has been decided among the member countries to formulate the roadmap for enumeration of snow leopards while addressing the inaugural session of the fourth steering committee meeting of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) programme.

Javadekar added that the plan is to increase the population of snow leopards by doubling the figures once the enumeration is completed in the world.

The minister further added that the maximum population of snow leopards is in Mongolia and China.

In a tweet, Javedekar reiterated that with the cooperation of the range countries, the population of Snow Leopards will also be doubled in the coming decade.”

The tweet said, “Enumeration of Tigers was a difficult task 20 yrs ago but we made it possible. India now has 77% of world Tiger population. I am sure, with the cooperation of the range countries, the population of Snow Leopards will also be doubled in the coming decade.”

Giving the example of India’s success at the steering committee meeting, Javadekar said, “India has done it and the population has touched 2,967 tigers, which is 77 per cent of the world tiger population. India has a rich ecology with 500 lions, 30000 elephants and 2500 single horn rhinos.”

On snow leopards, he said that there is confidence that once the protocol has been finalised, it will help all the countries in the count which can then strive to double the population of snow leopards in the coming decade.

India will have a separate programme on snow leopards to include green pathways in the Himalayan region where they are found to also assist in livelihood creation and create an ecosystem, the Minister said.

He added that discussion, deliberations and cooperation will help the countries to move ahead on nature conservation. The countries then need to think about capacity building in nature issues and conservation of snow leopards, he said.

He said he is confident of winning this important battle against climate change by conserving nature and the animal kingdom including leopards, tigers and there is a commitment to give a better planet to the next generation.

Reiterating India’s commitment to cooperate with all countries to conserve nature, Javadekar said it is a responsibility to protect and conserve nature as a lot of injustice has been done by cutting trees and disturbing the natural ecology.

In India the five Himalayan states, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, are the abode of snow leopard.

The species is found generally in the cold deserts above the treeline. It has been spotted in Ladakh (J&K) and Lahaul-Spiti (Himachal Pradesh).
Besides India, snow leopard is found in China, Bhutan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Burma, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan.

The habitat of the species has been disturbed with the ongoing road projects, particularly the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the network of roads being laid by China in the mountain region.

Wildlife experts have many a times expressed concern on the issue of interference of human beings in the habitat of snow leopard.