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Uttarakhand to develop India’s first snow leopard conservation centre in Uttarkashi forests

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India's first snow leopard conservation centreIndia’s 1st snow leopard conservation centre is to be set up in Lanka, near Bhaironghati bridge in Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand.Chief minister of Uttarakhand Trivendra Singh Rawat chaired a meeting along with State forest minister Harak Singh Rawat and other officials to look into the setting up of the conservation centre.

i.It will be built by the Uttarakhand forest department along with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as part of its six-year long project Securing livelihoods, conservation, sustainable use and restoration of high range Himalayan ecosystems (SECURE) Himalayas. 

ii.Dutch Conservation Architect Anne Feenstra shared the details of the conservation centre.  

iii.The conservation centre is expected to create awareness of the Big Cat among the people. 

Snow Leopard in Uttarakhand:

i.According to several researches, Uttarakhand is home to 86 snow leopards at present. 

ii.In Uttarakhand, snow leopards are found in Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Gangotri National Park, Askot Wildlife Sanctuary and other places of altitude between 3000-4500 meters.

About Snow Leopard:

  • According to the World Wild Fund for Nature India (WWF), India is home to 450-500 snow leopards.
  • Snow Leopard is listed under Schedule – I of  Wildlife Protection Act of India which gives the big cat absolute protection against hunting and poaching .  
  • It is listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list.

SECURE Himalayas:

i.Securing livelihoods, conservation, sustainable use and restoration of high range Himalayan ecosystems (SECURE) is a programme which aims to ensure conservation of locally and globally significant biodiversity in the high himalayan ecosystem.

ii.The programme aims to enhance the lives and livelihoods of local communities. 

iii.It was launched by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in association with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in January, 2017.

About Uttarakhand:
Capital – Garsain (Summer), Dehradun (Winter)
Chief MinisterTrivendra Singh Rawat
Governor – Baby Rani Maurya