A snow leopard has been sighted for the first time in the Darma valley in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district.
A team of explorers in search of high-Himalayan fauna has spotted a solitary animal of this elusive species in a snowy terrain above Dar village on February 6, Pithoragarh Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Mohan Dagare said on Thursday.
The explorers have captured the snow leopard in their camera from a distance of about 20 metres, he added.
This is the first time that a snow leopard has been found in these altitudes, Dagare said.
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Snow leopards are usually found at a height of more than 12,000 feet, while Dar village is located at nearly 11,120 feet.
The animal might have descended from its normal habitat due to heavy snowfall in the higher reaches, the DFO said.
Snow leopards were earlier spotted in the Nanda Devi range of the Garhwal Himalayas, parts of Himachal Pradesh and the Ladakh region, he added.
Also known as the Ounce, the snow leopard is listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.