By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 1 Aug: Uttarakhand Government has decided to establish a snow leopard conservation centre in Uttarkashi Forest Division area. This conservation centre will be built at a place called Lanka in Bhairon Valley. Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat held a meeting in this regard along with Forest Minister Harak Singh Rawat and officials of the Forest Department on Saturday.
Chief Minister Rawat said that snow leopards ought to be counted in the state. Special efforts ought to be made to conserve and increase the number of snow leopards, particularly in the areas where snow leopards had been seen in the past few years. Such areas need to be identified by the Forest Department in collaboration with local people, the army and other paramilitary forces. Rawat added that a grid ought to be formed in these areas and the leopards be counted. The Chief Minister said that conservation of snow leopards and other wildlife would give a boost to winter tourism in the state. He said that there were many species of wildlife in the mountainous regions of Uttarakhand, which could become the centre of attraction for tourists. Efforts were needed to conserve the extinct species of wildlife. In the present times, people were also aware about the need for conservation of wildlife. Forests and wildlife contributed significantly to the natural and scenic beauty of Uttarakhand.
It was informed in the meeting that snow leopards had been seen in significant numbers in Uttarkashi and Pithoragarh districts. However, no census had been carried out to gauge their actual numbers so far. As per a conservative estimate based on various studies and researches, there were currently 86 snow leopards in Uttarakhand. The number of wildlife had increased in the last few years in the higher Himalayan regions, it was claimed in the meeting. On this occasion, Prof N Finstra gave a detailed presentation at the Snow Leopard Conservation Centre.
Principal Secretary Forest and Environment Anand Vardhan, Chief Conservator of Forests Jairaj, Chief Conservator of Wildlife, Ranjana Kala, Rajiv Bharathi, GS Suhag and other senior officials of the forest department were present in the meeting.