To learn more about the habitat, range and behaviour of the snow leopards, Wildlife officials want to tag satellite collars on the elusive and highly endangered animal. If wildlife wing working on snow leopard conservation get the permission, the collars would be installed after the mating season (mid-March).

The State’s Wildlife Department is already monitoring the snow leopards through cameras in the Spiti Valley. The department, in partnership with Mysore-based Nature Conservation Foundation, has installed 60 camera traps (automatic cameras) in the valley. Islam said permission to install six radio collars was sought from the minister of environment and forests.

Collar installation on this highly endangered wildcat species is part of the Central Government’s Snow Leopard Conservation Project which was launched in five trans-Himalayan States, including Himachal, in January 2009.

Wildlife wing studies show the presence of seven to eight snow leopards per 100 square km in the Spiti Valley and apart from the Spiti Valley, the State’s Pin Valley National Park, the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary, the Great Himalayan National Park and the Pangi and Bharmour areas have a sizeable population of the wildcat.

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