Snow leopards in Himachal Pradesh, in northern India, face yet another threat in their fragile habitat. A camera trap set up in the mountains has captured an image of a pack of dogs attacking and injuring a snow leopard. Camera traps, which are set up in remote areas, are activated by movement when an animal passes.
Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) reports. “With just about 750 snow leopards left in India, the Himachal Pradesh government is using cameras to monitor their movement in Spiti Valley, the state’s northernmost part, running parallel to the Tibetan border.
The state’s wildlife department, in coordination with Mysore-based non-governmental organisation Nature Conservation Foundation, has installed 20 camera traps (automatic cameras) in Spiti Valley.
One of the cameras captured shots of a pack of dogs attacking a snow leopard. According to chief wildlife warden A.K. Gulati, the pastoral communities that migrate from alpine pastures in summer along with their livestock abandoned the dogs.
“From this video clip, we came to know that abandoned dogs are also a potential threat to the wild cat. However, in this case, the snow leopard managed to escape with minor injuries on its hind legs,” Gulati said.
According to wildlife experts, the rise in the population of abandoned dogs might pose a threat to the snow leopards’ food as they both hunt similar animals.
“The dogs usually attack in a pack and it’s easy for them to hunt even big mammals like the Himalayan blue sheep. This might reduce the prey base of the wild cat,” an expert said.