Snow leopard
Representational Image

SRINAGAR — Jammu and Kashmir is home to nine snow leopards while Ladakh has the highest number at 477, officials revealed on Tuesday.

They said that the snow leopard, an endangered species, has been estimated to have nine in J&K, while Ladakh holds the highest count in India at 477.

Experts told the news agency KNO that these figures are satisfactory, but there are still many more areas to be covered.

Union Minister Bhupender Yadav released India’s first-ever Snow Leopard Population Assessment report, revealing a total of 718 snow leopards in the country.

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The Wildlife Institute of India, in collaboration with Nature Conservation Foundation and WWF-India, conducted the assessment covering 70% of the potential snow leopard range. Ladakh leads with 477, followed by Uttarakhand (124), Himachal Pradesh (51), Arunachal Pradesh (36), Sikkim (21), and J&K (9).

Munib Khanyari, who was part of the assessment team, said, “This is a first-of-its-kind estimation. I feel very privileged to be part of this estimation. It’s a new binary estimation of snow leopards in mountains and ecosystems in India. It’s something we are very proud of,” he said.

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The figures for J&K and Ladakh are satisfactory in the sense that they reflect the efforts made. “Especially in J&K, we have many other areas to cover, especially right after the previous report was released. There are additional areas for snow leopards, so I think there is an opportunity for the numbers to improve, and for us to know. The concerned department is working really hard to enhance conservation efforts in both J&K and Ladakh to protect the animals.”

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