Recently, the Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change released the first ‘Snow Leopard Population Assessment Report’ of India.

Key highlights of the report:

  • The Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India Program is the first-ever scientific exercise that reports a population of 718 in India.
  • The Indian snow leopard population estimate is around one-sixth to one-ninth of the global population.
  • The four-year-long estimation exercise revealed approximately 718 snow leopards in the wild in India.
  • Ladakh has the highest estimated number (477), followed by Uttarakhand (124), Himachal Pradesh (51), Arunachal Pradesh (36), Sikkim (21), and Jammu and Kashmir (9).
  • The Indian snow leopard population constitutes 10-15% of the global population (the largest population is found in China).

About Snow Leopards:


  • They inhabit mountainous regions of central and southern Asia.
  • In India, they are found in the Western Himalayas (Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh) and Eastern Himalayas (Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh).
  • Hemis National Park (Ladakh) is the largest national park in India and a significant snow leopard habitat.

Conservation Status:

  • IUCN Red List: Listed as Vulnerable.
  • CITES and CMS: Appendix-I.
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972: Schedule I

Conservation Efforts by India:

  • Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) Programme: India has been participating since 2013.
  • Himal Sanrakshak: Launched in October 2020 to engage local communities in snow leopard protection.
  • First National Protocol (2019): Launched for Snow Leopard Population Assessment, aiding in population monitoring.
  • SECURE Himalaya: GEF-UNDP funded project focusing on conserving high-altitude biodiversity and reducing dependency on natural ecosystems.
  • Project Snow Leopard (PSL): Launched in 2009, it emphasizes an inclusive and participatory approach to conserving snow leopards and their habitat.
  • Recovery program: The snow leopard is part of the recovery program for 21 critically endangered species under the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change.
  • Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Darjeeling, West Bengal, houses a snow leopard conservation breeding program

Also Read :

National Mission for Mentoring (NMM)