The number of snow leopards has increased to 121 in Uttarakhand, according to the latest census. State's Chief Wildlife Warden Samir Sinha said the 2022 snow leopard census was conducted on the orders of the Centre.
When the last census was conducted 6 years ago the number of snow leopards were 86 and now it has risen to 121.
Expressing happiness over the results of the census, Uttarakhand Forest Minister Subodh Uniyal said conservation of wildlife in the state is in the right direction and it will give further impetus to wildlife tourism in the future.
Only 12 countries in the world have snow leopards and India is one of them. The population of snow leopards in these countries is estimated to be between 3,000 and 7,000. In the 2016 census, 516 snow leopards were found in India.
Snow leopards (Uncia uncia) are often referred to by locals as “mountain ghosts” given their secretive nature and how rarely they are seen. One of the most enigmatic species on the planet, the snow leopard remains one of the least understood of the big cats.
There are believed to be between 3,920 and 7,500 snow leopards living in the wild today. The exact number is unknown as they are extremely elusive and challenging to survey. However, new research, including camera trapping, is starting to indicate there may be more cats than previously thought.
The snow leopard is listed as “Vulnerable” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.