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PIB Summary for UPSC

31-January -2024

1. Shri Bhupender Yadav releases the Status Report of Snow Leopards in India.

Topic: GS3 – Environment and Ecology – Conservation – Species
Prelims Perspective- The Snow Leopard Population Assessment holds significance for UPSC prelims as it addresses biodiversity conservation and environmental policy.
Mains Perspective – The Snow Leopard Population Assessment is crucial for UPSC mains as it involves biodiversity conservation, wildlife management, and environmental policies, addressing ecological and sustainable development issues.
Context:
  • Union Minister Bhupender Yadav released a report on Snow leopards in India during the National Board for Wildlife meeting.
  • The Snow Leopard Population Assessment revealed 718 individuals, marking the first comprehensive scientific study of the species in the country.
More about the news:
  • The National Board for Wildlife meeting in New Delhi witnessed the release of a report on the Status of Snow leopards in India by Union Minister Shri Bhupender Yadav.
  • The Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India (SPAI) Program, coordinated by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), revealed a population of 718 Snow leopards, marking the first scientific exercise of its kind.
  • SPAI covered over 70% of the potential snow leopard range across states and UTs like Ladakh, J & K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The two-step framework involved spatial distribution evaluation and abundance estimation using camera traps, deploying 1,971 traps for 180,000 trap nights.
  • Estimated Snow leopard populations in different states include Ladakh (477), Uttarakhand (124), Himachal Pradesh (51), Arunachal Pradesh (36), Sikkim (21), and Jammu and Kashmir (9).
  • The report emphasizes the need for a dedicated Snow Leopard Cell at WII for long-term monitoring and periodic population estimations every four years in the Snow leopard range.
                                      Snow Leopards
  • Snow Leopards (Panthera uncia) are native to the mountainous regions of Central and South Asia, including the Himalayas.
  • Classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List, they face threats such as poaching, habitat loss, and retaliatory killings by herders.
  • Their habitat spans 12 countries, and conservation efforts often involve international collaboration due to their wide-ranging nature.
  • Snow Leopards are adapted to high altitudes, with thick fur, large nasal cavities, and a long tail for balance in rugged terrain.
  • They play a crucial role in maintaining ecological balance by controlling herbivore populations.
  • Conservation initiatives focus on community-based approaches, engaging local communities in protecting the species and its habitat.
  • Initiatives like the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP) aim to secure at least 20 snow leopard landscapes.
  • The Indian government’s Project Snow Leopard addresses conservation and sustainable development in the Indian Himalayan region.

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