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Ladakh sees phenomenal rise

Snow Leopard population in
Ladakh sees phenomenal rise

By Anil Bhatt in Leh
September 21, 2005 11:11 IST
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Snow leopards march to outnumber their China population

Swiftly disappearing from rest of the bewitching Indian woodlands along with endangered tiger population, the snow leopard has finally won the battle for survival in its Ladakh bastion with its population touching a record 400.

"The endangered snow leopard population is increasing at a rapid pace here unlike other habitats in the rest of country. It has won the battle for its survival," chief wildlife warden, J&K, C M Seth told PTI.

"It is increasing very fast. And if the trend continues, India will leave China, Russia, Nepal and Bhutan behind in the population of snow leopard in India," he said.

As per J-K wildlife department survey and killing of Kaytel reports of 2005, the leopard population increased to 400 this year from 230 to 250 in 2003.

The wildlife figures show there is an increase in snow leopard population by 35 per cent in J-K, which is an achievement, wildlife officials said.

Snow leopard population has gone up in J and K even as the animal has almost disappeared in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh and in Uttranchal where no snow leopard was seen after 1990.

In Leh, Kargil and Kishtwar over 100 studies on snow leopards were conducted in the past over one year, the officials said adding most of them included studies by foreign environment scientists.

Encouraged by the increasing number of snow leopards, two American and one Bangalore expert are studying the behaviour of snow leopards these days.

Bangalore's international conservation of snow leopards is undertaking scientific survey of snow leopard and its habitat, officials said adding this organisation has set up snow leopard information monitoring system.

"The growth in the population of the snow leopards in Ladakh is because of Buddhism, which prohibits its killings in the Ladakh region," Seth said.

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Anil Bhatt in Leh
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