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Project Snow Leopard (PSL)

Project Snow Leopard (PSL)

Context:

On the International Snow Leopard Day 2020, the Minister of State for Environment has mentioned that the government is committed to landscape restoration for snow leopard habitat conservation.

Project Snow Leopard (PSL):

  • The project was launched in 2009
  • Objective: To protect the snow leopard and its habitat ensures protection of the major Himalayan rivers that support the teeming millions downstream. 
    • It also ensures that the ecological balance is maintained in these fragile ecosystems.
  • Under the project, the First National Protocol was launched on Snow Leopard Population Assessment which has been very useful for monitoring populations.
  • In 2009 the government hosted the 4th Steering Committee of the GSLEP program in New Delhi. 
  • This meeting resulted in the “New Delhi Statement” of strengthening the resolve of the snow leopard range countries towards conservation of the mountain ecosystems of Central and South Asia.

Initiatives:

  • Flagship Species: The Government of India has identified the snow leopard as a flagship species for the high-altitude Himalayas.
  • SECURE Himalaya: Global Environment Facility (GEF)-United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) funded the project on conservation of high altitude biodiversity and reducing the dependency of local communities on the natural ecosystem. 

Snow Leopard:

  • The snow leopard is found in 12 countries India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Mongolia, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • The snow leopard is found along the upper reaches of the Himalayan range and, in India, it is found in Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.

Conservation status:

  • In IUCN red list it is under the Vulnerable category.
  • Schedule I in the Wild Life Protection Act 1972.
  • It is listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).

Source: The Hindu