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NEW DELHI (PTI):
The government is committed to landscape restoration for snow leopard habitat conservation and is implementing participatory landscape-based management plans involving local stakeholders, Union Minister of State Environment Babul Supriyo said on Friday.
Speaking at the International Snow Leopard Day 2020 at a virtual meeting, Supriyo said, "India has identified three large landscapes for restoration, Hemis-Spiti across Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh; Nanda Devi- Gangotri in Uttarakhand and Khangchendzonga-Tawang across Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh."
Supriyo emphasised that states together with the government should resolve to bring up the population of snow leopards in India in the next five years.
The minister said India is also party to the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) Programme since 2013.
Supriyo said that the Centre has been conserving snow leopard and its habitat through the Project Snow Leopard (PSL), which was launched in 2009.
"The government is committed to landscape restoration for snow leopard habitat conservation, and implementing participatory landscape-based management plans involving local stakeholders," he said.
In India, the geographical range of snow leopards encompasses a large part of the western Himalayas including the states and UTs of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
Protecting the snow leopard and its habitat ensures protection of the major Himalayan rivers and also ensures that the ecological balance is maintained in these fragile ecosystems.
During the virtual meet, community volunteer programme Himal Sanrakshak was launched by Supriyo followed by the release of an origami notebook based on the theme of combatting illegal trade in wildlife.
Government of India has identified the snow leopard as a flagship species for the high-altitude Himalayas, the Ministry of Environment said in a press release.
The Centre hosted the 4th Steering Committee of the GSLEP program in October 2019 at New Delhi which resulted in the "New Delhi Statement" of strengthening the resolve of the snow leopard range countries towards conservation of the mountain ecosystems of Central and South Asia.