One of the first tasks under the funds received from Project Snow Leopard, will be used to setup a research center at Kibber in Spiti, says the Himachal Pradesh Chief Wildlife Warden AK Gulati. A lot of conservation interest has sprung up after the animal has been declared as the state animal. It is proposed to spend Rs. 30 lakhs on the center in the first year. Project Snow Leopard has Rs 5.5 crore allocation, spread over Himachal Pradesh, Jammu Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
The initiative is supported by the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). Yash Veer Bhatnagar, a senior NCF scientist says that the research center would draw from telemetry experiences in Mongolia, where such a facility has been setup. NCF has been working for over a decade studying the animal in the wild around Kibber village, in Spiti, and has successfully used camera traps to photograph the cats. The number of snow leopards in the Indian Himalayas is estimated at 400 to 700.