Jammu, May 16: The research team of the Department of Wildlife Protection, Jammu & Kashmir has confirmed the presence of snow leopard in Kishtwar High Altitude National Park through camera trap photographs.
The camera traps installed before snowfall in the national park have been retrieved and multiple images of snow leopards have been captured in the camera trap frames. In one camera trap frame, three snow leopards have been captured roaming amidst the pristine snow-covered landscapes in the Renai catchment of Kishtwar High Altitude National Park. The camera trap images showcase the remarkable adaptability of this elusive species, well-suited to thrive in the challenging high-altitude environment of Kishtwar.
The Kishtwar High Altitude National Park in the UT of Jammu & Kashmir is renowned for its diverse array of flora and fauna, including several rare and endangered species. It encompasses breathtaking alpine meadows, snow-capped peaks and lush green forests, serving as a vital ecological corridor for many wildlife species.
Expressing his happiness over this sighting, Suresh Kumar Gupta, IFS, Chief Wildlife Warden, Jammu & Kashmir appreciated the efforts of the research team led by Dr. Kumar MK, IFS, Regional Wildlife Warden, Jammu and Majid Bashir Mintoo, Wildlife Warden, Chenab Division Kishtwar. He said that successful camera trap sighting of the Snow Leopards is an affirmation of the effectiveness of the park’s conservation strategies, which encompasses habitat protection, anti-poaching initiatives, community engagement, and scientific research. These combined efforts have created a conducive environment for the Snow Leopard population to flourish within the park’s boundaries and adjoining areas, he said.
The snow leopard holds immense ecological significance, acting as a keystone species in maintaining the delicate balance of the ecosystem. By conserving this apex predator, the Kishtwar High Altitude National Park also safeguards the diverse range of wildlife that co-exists within its boundaries, including the Himalayan Ibex, Musk Deer, and numerous avian species. This sighting of the Snow Leopard in the Renai area reinforces the importance of protected areas in safeguarding endangered species and underscores the need for collaborative initiatives involving local communities, governments and conservation organizations.
Earlier, the Department of Wildlife Protection Department, through an outsourced scientific study, also captured two leopards (one adult and one sub-adult) in a single frame of a camera trap in Nanth Nallah. This study is part of the Snow Leopard Population Assessment and biodiversity documentation of protected areas being carried out by the department.