Welcome the Himalayan Wildlife! India’s first-ever Snow Leopard Conservation Center to come up in Uttarakhand. The lush green hills, valleys and forests of Lanka in the Bhaironghati area of Uttarkashi district would be used for this purpose.
In a meeting led by Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat, the plan was unveiled along with the state forest minister. The conservation center will be developed by the forest department of Uttarakhand along with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The Need For Snow Leopard Conservation Center
Snow leopards are a rare species and according to figures in Uttarakhand, there are only 86 of them. Their natural habitat is usually in the high alpine and Himalayan areas which are nearly 2,000 m above the sea level. While the ultimate goal is to build a habitat for them, the prime objective is to conserve and restore the Himalayan ecosystem and also create livelihood. The center will not only support a habitable environment for snow leopards but with them several other endangered Himalayan species as well.
3 Great Things This Will Do For Tourism
Uttarakhand being a tourist-friendly state also has plans to develop travel and leisure aspects by building the first ever snow leopard conservation center. Here are 3 of them:
1. Promote Winter Tourism
The mountainous regions of Uttarakhand are a hub for tourists. The conservation effort will definitely promote winter tourism in the state. Being covered with multiple Himalayan ranges, winters in Uttarakhand are a real delight. With a protected environment, researchers, wildlife lovers and the general public, not just from India but from all over the world would be flocking to the region.
2. Uttarakhand Tourism On International Map
There are only 4,000 odd snow leopards In the entire world. While most of them live in the high alpine areas, there are not many conservation centers to protect them. India would be one of the first countries in Asia to develop such a center, getting it on international radars. This also entails pushing the environmental policy towards sustainability.
3. Six City Forests To Be Developed
Besides the conservation center, Uttarakhand would also be developing six other city forests to expand green area in urban regions. The forest department announced plans to develop city forests in specifically the Kumaon region – four in the hilly districts and 2 in the plains. The aim is to increase green cover in urban regions for a clean environment. The 6 regions include Dehradun, Almora, Nainital, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar, and Champawat.
The snow leopards in Uttarakhand are found in the high-altitude areas including the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Askot Wildlife Sanctuary, the Gangotri National Park and other high-altitude places (3000-4500 meters). The project was due to be announced earlier but was delayed due to Covid-19 pandemic. With this effort, winter as well as sustainable tourism will touch new boundaries. So, do you plan to visit this conservation center in Uttarakhand? Do let us know in the comments.
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