Scientists have obtained the first evidence of the elusive snow leopard in Arunachal Pradesh. Camera traps have captured images of the big cat at Thembang village’s Community Conserved Area, a community-owned reserve, in West Kameng district. The presence of the species outside protected areas highlights the importance of community support for conservation as well as landscape-scale planning.
The camera-trapping, part of a State-wide survey initiated in March 2017 by WWF-India in collaboration with the Arunachal Pradesh Environment and Forest Department, focused on unexplored snow leopard habitats.
In 2004, WWF-India introduced the concept of CCAs in the State to empower local communities to become active decision-makers and implement conservation initiatives. Local communities in these CCAs form committees to undertake wildlife monitoring, patrolling and community-based tourism activities. Arunachal Pradesh is one of the 22 priority landscapes of the Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection Program.