More than 70 per cent habitat of the snow leopard, over 12 Asian countries, remains unresearched, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) claimed in a recent report. This may have bearings on conservation of the species.
The report titled, Over 100 Years of Snow Leopard Research ó A spatially explicit review of the state of knowledge in the snow leopard range, was released May 17, 2021.
Snow leopard research intensified in the 1970s and studies on snow leopards have continued to increase exponentially since then. However, just four hotspots of snow leopard research (sites with continued multi-year research) have emerged, with less than 23 per cent of the snow leopard range being researched.
Nepal, India and China had conducted the most snow leopard research, followed by Mongolia and Pakistan, according to the report.
The report is based on an analysis of peer-reviewed published papers on the species and its habitat.
Rishi Kumar Sharma, WWF Global Snow Leopard Lead, who is the lead author of the report, said:
The WWF report said despite a major research focus on snow leopard population assessments, less than three per cent of the big catís range had robust data on abundance.
Globally, there could be as few as 4,000 snow leopards left in Asiaís high mountains and this remaining population faces continued and emerging threats. Increased habitat loss and degradation, poaching and conflict with communities have contributed to a decline in their numbers and left the species hanging by a thread in many places.
The report also highlighted that although conservationists were addressing several threats, a robust analysis of how effective the interventions were in achieving their objectives remained deficient.