2 snow leopards captured in Kargil

Range wildlife officer for Kargil, Bashir Ahmed told Greater Kashmir that two snow leopards came down from the mountainous habitat nearby.

IRFAN RAINA
Srinagar, Publish Date: Feb 22 2019 2:03AM | Updated Date: Feb 22 2019 2:03AM
2 snow leopards captured in KargilFile Photo

Wildlife officials have captured two snow leopards in Batalik area of Kargil district in Ladakh and were preparing to release them back into their habitat.

The snow leopards had strayed close to Garkone village of Batalik on the banks of Indus near the Line of Control and had taken shelter inside a cowshed on Tuesday.

Range wildlife officer for Kargil, Bashir Ahmed told Greater Kashmir that two snow leopards came down from the mountainous habitat nearby.

Ahmed said a team of wildlife rescue officials captured the two high risk leopards soon after getting the information and brought them to Kargil town where they have been put inside cage before releasing them back into their natural habitat.

The snow leopard is mostly found in its bastion—the upper reaches of Ladakh. However, a study recently has found its prevalence in various areas of the mountainous state.

Snow leopard is no longer an endangered species, but its population in the wild is still at risk because of poaching and habitat loss, conservationists have said in the study. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in its reports said new data taken through 2016 prompted reclassification of snow leopard from the list of endangered species to the vulnerable category.

The difference means the animals have gone from “very high risk” to “high risk” of extinction in the wild.

The team’s lowest estimate is about 4,000 live snow leopards in the wild, it could still face a population decline of 10 percent or more over the next three generations in its habitats, which are mostly mountainous areas of Central Asia, including Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan.

It “still faces a high risk of extinction,” the IUCN has said.

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