A camera placed in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve has captured an image of a snow leopard, the first photographic evidence of the elusive cat in the state of Uttarakhand in northern India.
Yogendra Joshi, a member of the Snow Leopard Network says “The legends of this cat know as ‘Him Tendua’ in Hindi has been part of stories and folklore since time immemorial. Although I heard many a stories from villagers and nomads it was the first time a conclusive evidence was reported in the state where I live.”
A photo shows an adult snow leopard, gender not known. It is more than 10 years since eveidence of the cat was found in this state but now this is evidence that the area is snow leopard habitat.
“We suspected it was here, now we know for sure,” said Sambandam Sathyakumar, a senior scientist specialising in endangered species management at the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun.
Sathyakumar helped train the Uttarakhand forest staff to install 15 cameras along likely animal trails in the Nanda Devi reserve.
“The Uttarakhand government now plans an elaborate protection and management of habitat for the snow leopard in the high Himalayan regions of Uttarakhand to safeguard the feline. The state will try and estimate the population with cameras,” said Shrikand Chandola, chief conservator of forests in the state.
And there’s good news for any cats living in this area. A forest official said the Nanda Devi reserve will be developed as potential habitats under Project Snow Leopard.