Uttarakhand to organise first-ever snow leopard tours

Published on : Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Uttarakhand Tourism has geared up to organise winter-special snow leopard tours for the first time in February.

The snow-leopard tours are being organised in Harsil, a picturesque village on the banks of the Bhagirathi river, to promote wildlife conservation. Harsil is also dubbed the “mini Switzerland of India”.

The first batch of tourists will be chosen on first-come, first-serve basis. The tourism body took to Twitter to make the announcement.

The initiative is part of the SECURE Himalaya Project — Securing livelihoods, conservation, sustainable use and restoration of high range Himalayan ecosystems. Led by the Indian government and United Nations Development Programme(UNDP), with the support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the project aims to “ensure conservation of locally and globally significant biodiversity, land and forest resources in the high Himalayan ecosystem, while enhancing the lives and livelihoods of local communities,” according toin.undp.org.

For the snow leopard tours, GEF, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, UNDP India, and Uttarakhand Forest Department have also partnered with the state tourism board.

In August 2020, Uttarakhand announced India’s first Snow Leopard Conservation Centre in Uttarkashi. As per research, there were about 86 snow leopards in Uttarakhand till last year as mentioned in an article. The snow leopard is a Schedule I animal under the Wildlife Protection Act of India. Known to be quite reclusive in nature, the animal is also listed as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

In India, snow leopards inhabit a large part of the western Himalayas, from Jammu and Kashmir to Himachal Pradesh, and eastern Himalayas including Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh, according towwfindia.org. They prefer “steep, rugged terrains with rocky outcrops and ravines”.

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