KATHMANDU: The snow leopard, rescued from the lowlands of Urlabari, Morang, has found a new sanctuary at the Central Zoo in Lalitpur.
Although snow leopards are generally found at altitudes ranging from 2,600 to 6,000 meters, this adult male was discovered in a bamboo grove at Charghare locality of Urlabari-1 in Morang at an elevation of just 146 meters.
“It is rather unusual to find a snow leopard in the altitudinal range of the Royal Bengal Tiger. This is a matter of study and research,” Senior Ecologist Shyam Kumar Shah, the spokesperson for the Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation, said. “The snow leopard had a minor injury in its right leg. There are no other injuries.”
Snow leopards are found in the high Himalayan areas of Nepal, extending from Kanchanjunga National Park in the east to Api Nampa Conservation Area in the west. The snow leopard population in Nepal is estimated to be in the range of 301 to 400.
The snow leopard is listed in CITES Appendix I and protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1973. The elusive wild cat was classified as Endangered in the IUCN’s Red List but down-listed as Vulnerable in 2017 due to the recent increase in their global population attributed to better population estimates using more reliable survey methods, according to the DNPWC.