WWF-India’s recent snow leopard study yielded photo evidence of the elusive species from Thembang, one of the Community Conserved Areas in Arunachal Pradesh. The evidence is significant as large areas in the state of Arunachal Pradesh fall under the custodianship of local communities.
In 2004, WWF India introduced the concept of the Community Conserved Area Model with Thembang village, the first CCA in West Kameng district covering an area of 30 sq km. Community members formed the Thembang Bapu CCA (TBCCA) Management Committee to expanded to cover a massive 635 sq. km. area encompassing dense forests, snow capped mountains and high altitude lakes- a secure habitat for several rare species of flora and endangered mammals including red panda, snow leopard, marbled cat, Himalayan black bear, serow, takin, and red goral.
In an ambitious effort spread across the entire potential snow leopard habitat in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, researchers, and trained local youth, interviewed herders and former hunters who provided detailed information on snow leopard as well as its prey species
Based on the knowledge of the community members, information was collected to understand the current distribution of snow leopards and other large mammals. The research team also deployed camera traps in select areas to document the species.