The Wildlife Conservation Division in collaboration with Paro Territorial Forest Division jointly organized the Second International Snow Leopard Day at Drukgyel Lower Secondary School, Paro on 23rd October 2015. The Global Snow Leopard Conservation Forum in 2013 at Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic adopted 23rd October as International Snow Leopard Day. This year is also accepted as the ‘International Year of the Snow leopards’. The theme for his year’s celebration is “Taking Stock of the Elusive Snow Leopard for a Healthy Alpine Ecosystem”.
The theme is linked to the ongoing National Snow Leopard Survey aimed to estimate the population of the species in the country and further to develop a long term landscape conservation management plan for Bhutan’s snow leopards and their prey base.
The day was celebrated mainly to advocate on conservation significance of the elusive snow leopard and the importance of its fragile mountain ecosystem and the conservation status of the species in Bhutan. With as low as 4000 individuals left globally in wild, these magnificent cats face increasing threats such as habitat shrinkage, poaching, retaliatory killing, climate change and decrease in prey.
The event commenced with a welcome remark by the Chief of Paro Division and it was followed by address by the Chief Guest. The event was graced by Dasho Paljor J. Dorji, Deputy Minister, and Senior Advisor to the National Environment Commission. In his speech, Dasho reiterated the importance of conserving such an endangered species existing in our mountains. Further, he acknowledged and encouraged the Forest Department to continue its efforts towards the conservation of the endangered species.
The days program included awareness raising quiz and art competition amongst five different schools in Paro Dzongkhag. An exhibition of posters and banners on snow leopard depicting their status and threats were displayed for the public view and awareness.
The department humbly dedicated the celebrations to the 60th Birth Anniversary of our Fourth Druk Gyalpo for his benevolent and visionary leadership in the conservation of Bhutan’s natural heritage. Presence of such a spectacular species is a testimony to the success of conservation programs in our country.
The event continued with entertainment programs awarding of prizes to the winners of quiz and art competition by the Chief Guest. They day concluded by vote of thanks proposed by school captain, Wangtshel Institute.
The event was co-financed by WWF Bhutan Program and Wildlife Trust of India- International Fund For Animal Welfare.