An injured snow leopard found in the eastern Tarai region has embarked on an journey, making its way from the plains of Urlabari, Sunsari, to the Central Zoo at Jawalakhel. The male snow leopard, discovered hiding in a bamboo bush at Charghare, Urlabari on Tuesday, has captured the attention of wildlife enthusiasts and authorities alike.
The joint efforts of the Division Forest Office in Mangalbare, Morang, the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, the National Trust for Nature Conservation, and the Area Police Office in Sunsari culminated in the successful rescue and subsequent relocation of the majestic creature. Sham Kumar Shah, the Information Officer at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, provided insights into the operation, stating that the snow leopard was brought to the Central Zoo on Wednesday.
Shah revealed that the snow leopard exhibits a limp in its front right limb, yet no external wounds are evident on the rest of its body. Remarkably, apart from the injury, the animal is reported to be in a normal state of health.
The uniqueness of this incident lies in the location of the discovery. It is highly unusual to encounter a snow leopard in the tropical plains, particularly at an altitude of a mere 143 meters above sea level. This region, traditionally known for being the habitat of the Royal Bengal Tiger, is an unexpected home for a species that typically thrives in mountainous terrains.
Snow leopards, native to the mountainous regions extending from Kanchanjangha in the east to Api Nampa in the west of the country, usually inhabit altitudes ranging from 2,000 to 6,000 meters above sea level. The fact that this snow leopard was found at such a low altitude adds to the intrigue surrounding its journey. Notably, snow leopards are known to reside in 12 countries across South Asia.
As the rescued snow leopard settles into its new environment at the Central Zoo, wildlife experts and conservationists are keenly observing its progress. The incident serves as a reminder of the delicate balance between wildlife conservation and the unexpected occurrences that can challenge our understanding of these magnificent creatures.