$4.5m allocated for snow leopard protection programme
Snow leapords live in the high mountains of the Karakoram and Hindukush. They are mainly found in Baltistan, Chitral, Gilgit, Upper Swat Valley, and the slopes of Nanga Parbat. Their status was recently revised from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’ after an assessment by international experts.
The ‘vulnerable’ classification means the species has under 10,000 breeding animals left, with a population decline of at least 10 per cent over three generations, according to a BBC report on the snow leopards’ re-classification. “The species still faces ‘a high risk of extinction in the wild’, and is likely still declining — just not at the rate previously thought,” the BBC quoted an expert as saying.
Today, it is estimated that around 3,500 to 7,000 wild snow leopards exist in the mountain regions of Central Asia, and around 600 to 700 snow leopards in zoos around the world. From these, it is estimated that only 200 snow leopards exist in the wild in Pakistan’s northern mountains, where they continue to face threats. Poachers kill them for their furs, and herders often attack the animals in retaliation for attacks on their livestock.–Dawn