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More than 70% of Snow Leopard habitat under-researched: WWF Report

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More than 70% snow leopard habitat unexploredAccording to the report ‘Over 100 Years of Snow Leopard Research’ released by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), More than 70% of the habitat of the snow leopard (Panthera uncia) over 12 Asian countries remain under-researched. Only 23% of snow leopard’s 1.7 million sq km habitat have been explored.

  • It states that just 4 hotspots of snow leopard research (sites with continued multi-year research) have emerged since 1970.
  • The proportion of area within each country covered by research was highest in Nepal (74%), followed by India (40%), Uzbekistan (39%) and China and Russia (25%).
  • The report is based on analysis of peer-reviewed published papers on Snow Leopard and its habitat.
  • Rishi Kumar Sharma, WWF Global Snow Leopard Lead is one of the lead authors of the report.

Key Points

i.The 12 Asian Countries which have snow leopard populations are China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia.

ii.The habitat of the snow leopard is expected to decline by 8-23% by 2070 due to climate impacts.

iii.It states that there might be around 4, 000 snow leopards left in Central Asia.

  • Only 14-19% of snow leopard range is protected.
  • They face threats due to habitat loss and degradation, poaching and conflict with communities.
  • The report further states that initiatives taken to conserve the Snow Leopard are not enough.
  • Conservationists have surveyed less than 3% of the snow leopard range using rigorous and scientifically acceptable abundance estimation approaches.
  • Bhutan was the first country to conduct a snow leopard population survey in 2016

iv.Snow Leopard is listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Recent Related News:

August 5, 2020, Uttarakhand Government announced the decision to set India’s 1st snow leopard conservation centre at Lanka, near Bhaironghati bridge in Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand.

About World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

President & CEO – Carter Roberts
Headquarters – Gland, Switzerland