October 23: International Snow Leopard Day
Every year, the International Snow Leopard Day is celebrated on October 23. It is also called the World Snow Leopard Day. Snow Leopard is called Man’s Best Friend. The first International Snow Leopard Day was celebrated in 2014.
The International Snow Leopard Day is celebrated to create awareness about conservation and preservation of Snow Leopards. October 23rd was proclaimed as the International Snow Leopard Day at the first Global Snow Leopard Forum held in Bishek, Kyrgyzstan. 2015 was declared as the International Year of Snow Leopard.
Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Programme
It was initiated by Kyrgyzstan Government. India is a signatory of the programme. The other countries that have signed the programme are China, Uzbekistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. All these countries are in the Snow Leopard ranges. These countries signed the Bishek Declaration as well.
The programme secures 20 snow leopard landscapes under the “Secure 20 by 2020” initiative.
What is a Snow Leopard Landscape?
The Snow Leopard Landscape is a region that has a minimum of 100 breeding age snow leopards with adequate support of prey population.
Snow Leopards in India
In India, the Snow Leopards are spread in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and eastern Himalayan areas.
Snow Leopard Survey in India
The first Snow Leopard Survey in India was conducted in 2019. India has 10% of global snow leopard population.
The IUCN Status of Snow Leopard is “vulnerable”. It was changed from “endangered” to “vulnerable” in 2017. It is listed in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Under CITES, it is listed in Appendix I.
Project Snow Leopard
It was launched in 2009. The project was launched in states where the population of snow leopard are found. They are Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.