Arunachal Pradesh Lok sabha Member seeks survey on now leopards in state

Snow Leopard walks inside the enclosure at a Himalayan Nature Park Kufri, 25km from Shimla. Snow Leopard have been declared 2007 new state animal. photo by Lalit Kumar *** Local Caption *** Snow Leopard walks inside the enclosure at a Himalayan Nature Park Kufri, 25km from Shimla. Snow Leopard have been declared 2007 new state animal. photo by Lalit Kumar

Vastavam web: Arunachal Pradesh Lok Sabha Member Ninong Ering has requested Union Forest Minister Harshvardhan for a survey to find the number of snow leopards in the state.The letter follows photographic evidence of the presence of snow leopards at Thembang area in West Kameng district of the mountain state recently which was yielded during a study of the elusive animal by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), India.The letter, a copy of which was made available to the press, also sought publishing of a vision document with regard to the country’s participation in ‘The Bishkek Declaration 2017’ which seeks to conserve the snow leopard and its ecosystem.

“In Arunachal Pradesh, there is also need for extension of the area allotted to the snow leopard landscape with a plan for community participation in the surveillance process as most of the forests are community owned,” Ering said in his letter.The state-wide survey carried out by WWF India in collaboration with state forest department was started in March this year, focusing on unexplored areas. It had yielded photo evidence of the snow leopard through a camera trap set up at Thembang, one of the community conserved areas in the state, according to a WWF statement released in October this year.

Only a fraction of snow leopard habitats in the state fall into two protected areas – the Dibang biosphere reserve and the Namdapha National Park.The survey relied on the knowledge of the community members to understand the current distribution of snow leopards and other large mammals in the region.The state-wide survey is significant as it covers one of the 22 priority landscapes of the Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP).The findings of the state-wide survey will enable Arunachal Pradesh forest department to develop a snow leopard conservation plan to address increasing threats such as retaliatory killings, infrastructure development and climate change induced impacts on the habitats, the statement said.