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India has 718 snow leopards, as per first-ever population assessment exercise conducted in the country

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Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Minister Bhupender Yadav today released the first-ever Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India (SPAI) during the meeting of National Board for Wildlife in New Delhi. The SPAI is a first of its kind scientific exercise on the status of Snow leopards in India.

The report stated that 718 Snow Leopards are present in India with Ladakh having the most at 477, followed by Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Jammu and Kashmir. It further mentioned that Snow leopard occupancy was recorded in over 93 thousand square kilometers of area with an estimated presence in over 1 lakh square kilometers. The SPAI covered over 70 percent of the potential snow leopard range across the trans-Himalayan region in the country with approximately 1 lakh 20 thousand square kilometers of area over the last four years.

The report also mentions the need for establishing a dedicated Snow Leopard Cell at Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun with a primary focus on long-term population monitoring, supported by well-structured study designs and consistent field surveys. It has advised the States and Union Territories to consider adopting a periodic population estimation approach in the Snow leopard range.

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