Himachal: Snow leopards to be fitted with radio collars for tracking
The wildlife wing of the state forest department would soon be fitting snow leopards with satellite-linked collars as part of efforts to gain a deeper understanding of the behavioural traits of the endangered big cat.
Shimla: The wildlife wing of the state forest department would soon be fitting snow leopards with satellite-linked collars as part of efforts to gain a deeper understanding of the behavioural traits of the endangered big cat.
Satellite collars would be fitted on six snow leopards in the tribal Spiti Valley and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest has approved a Rs 25 lakh project for the study of the rare species.
"The first radio-collar enabled study of snow leopards was conducted in Mongolia's Gobi Altai Mountains," said Devender Chauhan, forest officer and a researcher associated with the snow leopard conservation project in Spiti valley. The radio collars would enable tracking of the snow
leopards' movements through global positioning system (GPS) technology, he said.
Snow leopards have been categorised as an 'Endangered Species' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). But, despite being listed as endangered, snow leopard populations are dwindling in all the 12 countries where the animal is found.
About half the global population of snow leopards are found in three countries — China (2,000-2,500), India (400-700) and Nepal (300-500) and authorities in these countries are discussing the possibility of trans-boundary research projects. The number of snow leopards in Himachal Pradesh is believed to be around 20.
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One region where researchers are on a quest to unravel the secretive ways of the snow leopard is the Shamshy wildlife sanctuary which is a three hours' drive south-east from the capital Bishkek.