Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) is the vulnerable species having a population of 4,000 worldwide. Nepal is home to almost 400 of them. According to the WWF, Snow Leopards are found in the high mountains of twelve countries (Nepal, Afghanistan, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) in Asia.
This iconic species is facing several types of threats despite its ecological value and spiritual significance to indigenous communities. The several types of threats to this crepuscular animal are habitat loss and fragmentation, Climate change, Human-wildlife conflict, Illegal wildlife trade, etc. Reduction in the populations of its natural prey species and retaliation killings by local herders who fear for their livestock is another major threat that remains very much acute. WWF-UK states that “The Himalayan region will face a major crisis if we choose to ignore climate change. Not only do we risk losing majestic species such as the snow leopard, but hundreds of millions of people who rely on water flowing from mountains may be affected. So, it is crucial to take the action for the conservation of these solitary creatures or the ghost of mountains.
Looking back to the history of International Snow Leopard Day, the day was started to celebrate after the landmark Bishkek declaration signed on 23rd October 2013 at the first global forum on the conservation of the snow leopard. International Snow leopard Day is celebrated on 23rd October to raise awareness about the plight of this iconic species.
On the occasion of International Snow Leopard Day 2020, Resources Himalaya Foundation has organized the program on the virtual platform. The title for the program is “Ecology of Fear: Snow Leopard-Mountain Ungulates and Humans Communities in the Nepalese Himalaya”. Mr. Kamal Thapa, a PhD scholar at the Institute of Forestry. T.U is going to present on the given topic on October 21, 2020, from 2 pm to 3 pm. He has dedicated his career in research and conservation-based organization including Annapurna Conservation Area Project, Ev-K2 CNR, and WWF Nepal. Mr. Thapa has initiated and led the project “Tracking snow leopards in Nepal” (Satellite GPS Collar in Mt. Kanchanjunga during 2013 and 2014). Those who are interested in the program can go through the Facebook page of Resources Himalaya Foundation and can be registered. Registration should be done before October 21, 9:00 am to receive the meeting ID and password via email on the same day.