Snow Leopards in India: Report and Assessment

Snow Leopards in India: Report and Assessment


The Union Environment Minister unveiled the report on the status of snow leopards in India during the National Board for Wildlife meeting convened in New Delhi.


GS-03 (Environment and ecology)

Key Highlights:

  • The Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India (SPAI) Program marks a significant milestone as the first-ever scientific endeavor to document the snow leopard population in India, revealing a count of 718 individuals.
  • This monumental initiative was coordinated nationally by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), in collaboration with snow leopard range states and two conservation partners, the Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysuru, and WWF-India.

Overview of Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India (SPAI):

  • The SPAI program meticulously surveyed over 70% of the potential snow leopard habitats in the country, engaging forest and wildlife personnel, researchers, volunteers, and contributions from knowledge partners.
  • Spanning the period from 2019 to 2023, the SPAI initiative covered approximately 120,000 sq. km of snow leopard habitat across the trans-Himalayan region, encompassing the Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir, as well as states such as Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Based on comprehensive data analysis, the estimated snow leopard population across different states is delineated as follows:
    • Ladakh (477)
    • Uttarakhand (124)
    • Himachal Pradesh (51)
    • Arunachal Pradesh (36)
    • Sikkim (21)
    • Jammu and Kashmir (9)

National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) :

  • The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) serves as the highest authority in India for addressing all issues pertaining to wildlife.
  • Established under Section 5A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, it holds statutory status.
  • The NBWL offers guidance to the government on wildlife conservation policies and initiatives and grants approvals for projects within and in proximity to national parks and other designated protected regions.
  • Chaired by the Prime Minister, the NBWL consists of 47 members, including three Members of Parliament, five representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and ten distinguished experts in ecology, conservation, and environmental advocacy.