Dehradun: Have the snow leopards turned camera conscious or they are fast heading towards extinction? It is a question which has cropped up after the rare visibility of a limited few Himalayan leopards in the past 12 months. Ironical it may seem that though India is a home to over 500 Himalayan Leopards, only one could be photographed in Uttarakhand in the past one year.

Significantly, during this period the height for the camera trap has been increased from 9,000 feet to 12,000 feet. Though the scientists and forest authorities have expressed concern over this issue, they have refrained themselves from making an official comment.

During November-December 2010, the Wild Life Institute of India (WLII) with the help of the forest department in order to count the number of snow leopards had laid automatic camera traps on Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Valley of flowers, Luftal, Malaria and Dasari areas of high Himalayan region (8000-9000 ft).

After waiting for around four months, only one leopard was photographed in the Malaria region of Chamoli district on April 10.

However, after failing to capture any other snow leopard in the camera for many months, the scientist then decided to set the camera trap above 12000 ft height. It is said that due to the increasing man-animal conflict, the snow leopards have disappeared from the region.

S Sathyakumar, senior scientist of WLII said, “This is true that from past one-year only one snow leopard has been seen, but efforts are still on.”