PM announces Rs 5 crore for conservation of snow leopards

Kathmandu, January 20

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal asserted that protecting snow leopards and their ecosystem was the duty of everyone.

Inaugurating the second Steering Committee Meeting of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection programme here today, the prime minister said snow leopards were indicators of a healthy mountain ecosystem, and it was impossible to imagine mountains of Central and South Asia without snow leopards.

The Prime Minister also announced a budget of Rs 50 million for the conservation of snow leopards in Nepal.

"The responsibility of protecting snow leopards does not rest solely with these 12 countries and a handful of organisations," he said.

He expressed confidence that the deliberations of national and international participants during the second GSLEP Steering Committee Meeting would prove to be significant in protecting the ecological integrity of the mountain ecosystem, and in developing sustainable livelihood options for people living in those areas.

Prime Minister Dahal further said, "We will work together with the global community for conservation through various environment-related multilateral agreements."

He said Nepal had prepared National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for 2014 to 2020 in line with its international commitment to conservation.

At the programme today, the prime minister launched the Snow Leopard Conservation Action Plan of Nepal.

He stressed on reducing problems of habitat loss, human-wildlife conflicts, poaching, illegal trade, and climate change, among other issues.

At the same programme, Minister for Forests and Soil Conservation Shankar Bhandari said that the Nepal government was committed to protecting rare and endangered species in the country, and had therefore separated 23 per cent of the total area of the country as protected areas for this.

Pakistani Minister for Climate Change and GSLEP Chair Zahid Hamid said protecting snow leopard had become more and more challenging due to climate change, which was destroying the habitat of snow leopard rapidly.