Seeking to develop baseline data on key species in the country, Bhutan leads the way in conducting a Nationwide Snow Leopard Survey. The population estimates conducted in the beginning of the 21st century were based on sign surveys and estimated the population between 100 and 200 (NSLEPP, 2013).

Combined with the National Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection Priority and the unavailability of baseline data on the species, this survey was initiated by the Wildlife Conservation Division, Department of Forest and Parks Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests in August 2014.

The survey is planned in two phases, with phase one focusing on sign surveys and main prey base surveys. This phase commenced in August 2014 and is expected to be completed by the end of June 2015. The second phase will begin in July 2015 and end in June 2016.

The survey will reveal population data for this species and its main prey base, blue sheep Pseudois nayaur. By June 2016, the department plans to come up with a landscape-level conservation management plan to guide snow leopard conservation in Bhutan.

Phase one is supported by the Royal Government of Bhutan, and co-financed by the APL2-IDA World Bank, WWF Bhutan Program Office, KLCDI-ICIMOD. Funds for phase two are still currently being sourced.

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First volume of Ilbirs., newsletter of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program