Snow leopard was spotted at height of about 4,000 metres in Lippa-Asra wildlife sanctuary in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. Its picture was captured by camera-trap installed by State Wildlife Department. This findings have ascertained that snow leopards are inhabiting new areas.
Snow leopard (Panthera uncial) is large cat native to mountain ranges of Central and South Asia- including Himalayas, and Russia’s remote Altai mountains. It inhabits in alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m. In northern range countries, it is also found at lower elevations. It mostly feed on wild animals, but also prey on livestock. It usually hunts at dawn and dusk and is able to kill prey up to three times their own weight. In India, it is found in states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.
Threats: It is threatened by poaching for their fur, habitat destruction by infrastructure developments and climate change.
Protection Status: It has been listed in Schedule I under Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, Appendix I of Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) and Appendix I Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). In September 2017, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had downgraded conservation status of snow leopard to “vulnerable” from “endangered”. It is National Heritage Animal of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Project Snow Leopard: It was launched in 2009 to safeguard and conserve Snow Leopard (an unique natural heritage of high-altitude) and its habitats by promoting conservation through participatory policies and actions.
Lippa-Asra wildlife sanctuary
The sanctuary is part of district Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh and also is part of Moorang town. It was established in 1974 and is spread over an area of 3089 hectares. It hosts wide range of flora and fauna due to varied elevation, different climatic situation and topographical type of weather found in its vicinity y. This type of weather conditions thus helps in the survival of different type of species that are housed in the sanctuary. The sanctuary has diversified wildlife that forms part of it. It houses wild species of animal like Yak, Ibex, Blue Sheep, Himalayan Musk Deer, Goral, Brown Bear and Himalayan Black Bear. The dry alpine scrub and dry coniferous type of forest are main type of flora found in this sanctuary. Besides, dwarf juniper scrub, coniferous forest and temperate type of forest of Himalayan region is also found in this sanctuary.