Shimla, Dec 29
Additional Deputy Commissioner Kaza successfully experienced a sighting of a Snow Leopard in Chichum village under Spiti Subdivision of Lahaul-Spiti district on Wednesday.
On information of local villagers ADC Abhishek Verma visited Chichum village and saw the natural habitat of a fully grown Snow Leopard in a cave. Villagers had also sighted three snow leopards last year however a pair was seen by them this year. Public Relations Officer posted at Kaza informed that with freezing high altitude habitat and with migration of blue sheep or ibex down the hill, the snow leopard also declimed to newer habits and cubs and pairs of SL are also sighted since last two years. Ibex or blue sheep are natural prey of snow leopard.
Pertinent to mention that the rare wild cat sightings are becoming a commen feature in this area, every year.
A snow leopard cub (six to eight months) on May 2, 2020 got trapped inside a livestock pan in Giu village of Spiti valley.The cub required immediate rescue as it’s astrayed mother and he were exhausted and thus rushed to wild animal rehabilitation centre from Spiti to Himalayan nature park Kufri. After full recovery the cub was again released on May 18 to the wild near the same location at Giu village where it was found trapped.‘ Before releasing the cub in the wild we had ensured to track its mother by putting the surveillance camera for two days, informed wildlife officials. As she was located the astrayed cub was released near her to ensure successful union again.
However local villagers later told that cub couldn’t join its mother and the milk feeding cub may have died in the snow desert as it could not hunt the prey on its own.
It is worthwhile to mention that Wildlife wing in collaboration with Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) Bangalore for aligning with the SPAI (Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India) of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has made head count of snow leopards through trap camera and its pug marks and it counted 73 Leopards till September 2022.
The camera trap deployment over the mountainous terrains was led by a team of eight local youth of Kibber village and more than 70 frontline staff of HPFD were trained in this technique as part of the project.
Snow leopards were detected at all 10 sites (Bhaga, Chandra, Bharmour, Kullu, Miyar, Pin, Baspa, Tabo, Hangrang & Spiti) suggesting that the rare cat are found in the entire snow leopard habitat in Himachal Pradesh either as resident individual of a population or as dispersing individuals navigating through these connecting habitats.
The PSL is spread in the five Himalayan states including HP, J&K, Uttranchal, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh about 1,28,757 sq km total project area.This study covered the entire potential snow leopard habitat of Himachal Pradesh: an area of 26,112 sq.km., utilising a stratified sampling design. Camera trapping surveys were conducted at 10 sites to representatively sample all the strata i.e. high, low and unknown. During the SPL some of the areas of Kullu and Lahaul Spiti where footprints were also found of this elusive wild animals was also extended. In the state PSL, (above 3000 m) include Lahaul, Spiti, Pangi, Kinnaur, Upper Chamba (especially Bharmour), Upper Kangra (Bara Bhangal), Upper Kullu (Mantalai, Pin Parvati, upper Great Himalayan NP, upper Manali), and Upper Simla (Rupi Bhabha, Dodra Kwar).