J-K: Camera traps spot snow leopards outside Kishtwar national park

J-K: Camera traps spot snow leopards outside Kishtwar national park

Jammu, Nov 7 (PTI) At least three camera traps have confirmed the presence of snow leopards outside the Kishtwar High Altitude National Park in Jammu and Kashmir, a senior official of wildlife protection department said on Tuesday. The development can ensure proper conservation of the endangered species.

The presence of snow leopards was observed in three camera traps set up in the upper reaches of Padder, wildlife warden (Chenab Division) Majid Bashir told PTI.

In May, research teams of the department confirmed the presence of snow leopards in the Kishtwar national park through camera trap photographs.

Bashir said a total of 48 camera traps were installed in Padder, Gandhari and Machail with the help of Mysore-based NGO Nature Conservation Foundation and eight of these cameras were retrieved recently with three of them confirming the presence of snow leopards in Padder area.

“This is for the first time that the presence of snow leopards was captured in camera traps outside the national park,” Bashir said.

Listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), snow leopards are mostly found at an altitude between 3,000 and 4,500 metres and have been sighted in the snow-bound areas of the Kishtwar national park and its adjoining areas in Jammu region and parts of central and north Kashmir, besides parts of the Union Territory of Ladakh.

In November 2021, the wildlife department launched a first-of-its kind snow leopard population assessment expedition under the snow leopard project of the Union environment ministry with focus on identifying the landscape housing the species and challenges for their proper conservation.

Bashir, who is also in-charge of the Kishtwar national park, said nine snow leopards are present in the park based on the data gathered through the camera traps.

As many as 278 camera traps were placed at 135 locations across the national park before the onset of the winter last year. Over two dozen camera traps captured the presence of the snow leopards, he said. PTI TAS TAS KVK KVK

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