ISLAMABAD: Amid the ongoing government efforts for wildlife conservation through community involvement and afforestation in the country, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday shared a rare footage of a snow leopard roaming and roaring over the snowy mountains in the Khaplu area of Gilgit Baltistan.
“Rare footage of the shy snow leopard in Khaplu, GB,” the prime minister captioned the 45-second video clip on Twitter showing the snow leopard under a cliff with snow all around.
Also called the Ghosts of the Mountains, the snow leopards are shy and of elusive nature. The colouring of their coats makes them difficult to see against the snowy, rocky environment they live in. These cats are most active at dawn and dusk. Scientists call it a crepuscular activity pattern.
According to a media report, only 8,000 snow leopards are believed to be left in the wild across the world and fewer than 400 of them are estimated to be living in Pakistan. In the Himalayas, snow leopards live in the high alpine areas, mostly above the tree line and up to 18,000 feet in elevation.
Pakistan is among the 12 countries including China, Russia, Bhutan, Nepal, India and Mongolia where they are found.
In the Gilgit-Baltistan region, Baltistan Wildlife Conservation and Development Organisation (BWCDO) is working with local village populations to help protect and conserve the snow leopard. The BWCDO pioneered livestock insurance schemes for villagers to compensate farmers against livestock losses resulting from attacks by snow leopards to ensure the apex predators and humans coexist in harmony.
After more than two decades of hard work, the snow leopard population in the area is not only surviving but thriving.
Published in Dawn, December 26th, 2021