Population of Snow Leopards in Bhutan Rose in 2023: Survey

Snow Leopards in Bhutan | Representational Image by Pixabay via Pexels
Snow Leopards in Bhutan | Representational Image by Pixabay via Pexels
Avatar of Binayak Karki
Written by Binayak Karki

The IUCN Red List classifies the snow leopard as “Vulnerable,” indicating that without conservation efforts, this magnificent species is at risk of becoming extinct in the near future.

The 2022-2023 National Snow Leopard Survey, backed by the Bhutan For Life initiative and WWF-Bhutan, has unveiled an astonishing 39.5% increase in the population of snow leopards compared to the initial survey conducted in 2016.

The comprehensive survey used cutting-edge camera trapping technology. It covered over 9,000 square kilometers of habitat of snow leopards in Bhutan (northern Bhutan).

The survey found 134 snow leopards in Bhutan, a notable rise from the 2016 count of 96 individuals. This highlights Bhutan’s successful conservation initiatives and dedication to protecting snow leopard habitats.

Additionally, the survey showed differences the in the density of snow leopards in Bhutan in various regions. Western Bhutan had a notably higher density of these elusive big cats. This regional disparity highlights the necessity for customized conservation approaches to support the ongoing growth of the snow leopard population.

One of the survey’s standout discoveries was the identification of snow leopards in previously unrecorded areas like Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary and lower elevation regions near the Divisional Forest Office in Thimphu. This expansion of their known habitats underscores Bhutan’s crucial position as a stronghold for these endangered creatures.

With its extensive and suitable snow leopard habitats along its borders with India (Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh) and China (Tibetan plateau), Bhutan is positioned to serve as a pivotal source population for snow leopards in the region.

The IUCN Red List classifies snow leopard as “Vulnerable,” indicating that without conservation efforts, this magnificent species is at risk of becoming extinct in the near future.

Bhutan has enacted protective measures for snow leopards, classifying them as Schedule I under the Forests and Nature Conservation Act 2023, where illegal actions against them are treated as fourth-degree felonies. The survey provided valuable insights into snow leopards’ interactions with other large carnivores, including tigers and common leopards.

Furthermore, it set a new species record other than snow leopards in Bhutan by capturing a White-lipped deer/Thorold’s deer (Cervus albirostris) in the Divisional Forest Office in Paro.

About the author

Avatar of Binayak Karki

Binayak Karki

Binayak - based in Kathmandu - is an editor and author writing for eTurboNews.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x
Share to...