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Snow leopard consensus signed in Shenzhen

By Chai Hua in Shenzhen | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-09-05 19:53

Representatives of the world's major snow leopard range countries signed a consensus on global snow leopard conservation in Shenzhen on Wednesday.

It was signed during the International Conference for Snow Leopard Conservation, held Tuesday and Wednesday. More than 200 officials, experts and representatives from the big cat's habitat countries shared their latest achievement.

China has established 26 nature reserves for snow leopards, covering more than half of the big cat's habitats, said Li Chunliang, vice administrator of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.

He noted that snow leopard protection is in direct relation to the stability and integrity of the plateau and mountain ecosystem as it is at the top of the food chain there.

"Having its largest habitat in the world, China has made a tremendous effort to protect the snow leopard," Li noted, adding the country has provided a strict protection zone of more than 200,000 square kilometers.

But he warned the species still faces increasing risks globally, such as poaching, habitat fragmentation, and climate change.

He pledged China will enhance investment to protect the animal and explore cross-border habitat protection programs, especially in the Belt and Road area.

Koustubh Sharma, a steering committee representative at the Global Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP), noted cooperation is the inevitable way to achieve the goal of setting up at least 20 key reserves by 2020.

The snow leopard is a Class-A protected animal in China, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature classifies it as endangered-to-vulnerable. There are about 4,500 to 7,500 snow leopards living in only 12 countries.

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