Snow leopard breeding program to restart in Himachal Pradesh

Snow Leopard Conservancy-Jammu & Kashmir Wildlife Protection Department

In an attempt to save its endangered state animal, the wildlife wing of the Himachal Pradesh (HP) forest department has said it will restart the project of breeding elusive snow leopard at Himalayan Nature Park at Kufri, 18km from state’s capital Shimla.

The state government recently shot off a proposal to the Central Zoo Authority of India (CZAI) and urged it to reinitiate the project in the hill state. “Efforts are on to conserve the endangered snow leopard. We have written to the Zoo Authority of India regarding restarting breeding of snow leopard in the Himalayan Nature Park,” said chief conservator of forests (CCF).

Snow leopard is found in Kibber area of Lahaul and Spiti district of the state. These cats have also been sighted near Komic, Hikkim and Demul areas of the tribal district. The wildlife wing claims to have tracked more than 30 snow leopards in Spiti valley alone through camera traps.

In 2004, the state brought two leopards—Subhash and Sapna—from Darjeeling in West Bengal state to Kufri under an exchange programme. While the female died, Subhash was shifted back to Darjeeling in 2013. The department is again contemplating to reinitiate the conservation plan through breeding.

The state wildlife wing and Mysore’s Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) have, meanwhile, been leading efforts related to research and conservation of snow leopard in Spiti.

They had prepared a detailed landscape and participatory management plan for Spiti wildlife division. Under the project, focus is laid on increasing population of wild ibex and blue sheep—the main food of snow leopard. (Hindustan Times)

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