Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Wednesday that a protocol has been decided among the member countries to be the roadmap for enumeration of snow leopards. He added that once the enumeration is completed, the plan is to double the population of snow leopards in the world.
Addressing the inaugural session of the fourth steering committee meeting of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) programme on the occasion of International Snow Leopard Day, Javadekar said the maximum population of snow leopards is in Mongolia and China.
Giving the example of India's success in counting tigers, he said the exercise was difficult till 20 years back but now India has done it and the population has touched 2,967 tigers, which is 77 per cent of the world tiger population. India has a rich ecology with 500 lions, 30000 elephants and 2500 single horn rhinos.
On snow leopards, he said that there is confidence that once the protocol has been finalised, it will help all the countries in the count which can then strive to double the population of snow leopards in the coming decade. India will have a separate programme on snow leopards to include green pathways in the Himalayan region where they are found to also assist in livelihood creation and create an ecosystem, the Minister said.
He added that discussion, deliberations and cooperation will help the countries to move ahead on nature conservation. The countries then need to think about capacity building in nature issues and conservation of snow leopards, he said. He said he is confident of winning this important battle against climate change by conserving nature and the animal kingdom including leopards, tigers and there is a commitment to give a better planet to the next generation.
Reiterating India's commitment to cooperate with all countries to conserve nature, Javadekar said it is a responsibility to protect and conserve nature as a lot of injustice has been done by cutting trees and disturbing the natural ecology.