The Ladakh Union Territory administration has announced snow leopard and black necked crane as its state animal and state bird respectively.
"The Lieutenant Governor of Union Territory of Ladakh is pleased to declare snow leopard (Panther unica) and black–necked crane (Grus nicricollis) as state animal and state bird, respectively, of the union territory of Ladakh from the date of issue of this notification,” said a notification issued by the Principal Secretary Forest, Ecology and Environment, Pawan Kotwal.
Earlier, black necked crane was the state bird of erstwhile J&K state that existed until 5 August 2019, when Central Government abrogated its special status and downgraded it into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.
The black-necked crane is found in eastern Ladakh.
Experts put the population of snow leopards to be between 200-300 individuals in Ladakh alone and speak about the fragile relation of their healthy population to overall natural health of the mountains.
Meanwhile, the black-necked crane found only in Eastern Ladakh's high-altitude wetlands and marshes and is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN red list.
The birds arrive here as early as March for breeding and leave by October end or early November.
Their habitat loss could lead to the extinction of this species, at least from this region. (With PTI inputs)