Lonesome Snow Leopard faces problems

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Shimla, Jan 14 (UNI) Lingering isolation is exposing the only snow leopard to a myriad of health problems at Himalayan Nature Park in Kufri here.

Wildlife experts here are worried that Subhash a snow leopard, could suffer emotional stress, behavioural changes and related complications as the efforts of the state wildlife authorities to get him a mate from overseas have been unsuccessful so far.

Wildlife experts as well as the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) guidelines stress that animals must be kept in pairs for their normal growth and well-being.

Subhash, however, has been forced to live a lonely life since the death of his mate Sapna last year .

Sapna, who had died at the nature park reportedly of a chronic stomach ailment, was the second snow leopard to have died in the Park.

The pair was brought to Kufri from Darjeeling in West Bengal about two years ago under an exchange programme Sources revealed that the wildlife wing of Himachal Pradesh Forest department had initiated a plan to import a new bloodline of snow leopards from Zoos of European countries, however even after sustained efforts of the authorities the new bloodline of snow leopard could not be found that could have been brought to Kufri park.

The wildlife wing has also been looking for 'rescued' snow leopards in the tribal belts of the state, but luck has not favoured the department so far.

Sources in the department said that the matter of bringing a female Snow leopard from the Padmja Naidu National Zoological Park, Darjeeling is also under consideration and telephonic talks had being held with the authorities there but official communication is yet to be initiated.

''We have also requested the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to help in procuring a mate for our snow leopard by coordinating with other Zoo's, '' said a wild life official.

The Padmja Naidu Park and the Himalayan Nature Park are among the very few destinations in the country that encourage the breeding of snow leopards in captivity.

UNI XC JN RC VC1715

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