The National Snow Leopard Survey 2022-2023 in Bhutan has revealed a 39.5% increase in the snow leopard population since 2016, with 134 individuals now confirmed. Conducted across 9,000 square kilometers with 310 camera traps, the survey found a higher density of these elusive cats in western Bhutan compared to the central and eastern regions. Despite the encouraging numbers, Karma Tshering, Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, warned that the snow leopard is still a vulnerable species facing multiple threats, including habitat degradation and poaching. The report also recommends livestock insurance and coral fencing to mitigate conflicts between the increasing snow leopard population and local herding communities. The survey, supported by various organizations including WWF-Bhutan, aims to guide future conservation strategies while balancing the needs of local communities.
Photo Credit: Denys Nevozhai