Braldu Expedition

Although remote monitoring of wildlife species is a more efficient technique , actual field surveys still have their own perks starting from hand on experience and observation of various wildlife’ activities to enjoying the undisturbed natural habitat. One such field survey was conducted by Snow Leopard Foundation research team comprising 5 members.  The team started their journey on 23rd December, 2016. The final destination was upper Braldu valley , District Shigar , Baltistan and survey was to be conducted on population estimation of ibex and Ladakh urial . First five days were spent in making necessary arrangements which included obtaining permission letter from wildlife department, datasheets, equipment collections and getting more members in the team. The targeted area starts from Askoli and on 29th December, the survey began from this very point.  The team adopted “double observer method” in which two teams are made to count the number of individuals of a particular species. Team started counting Ibex and Ladakh Urial from Askoli till Domurdo upto Panma Glacier. The team successfully spotted 5 herds of ibex but there were no direct sightings of Ladakh urial. However, other signs were found which indicated urial’s presence in the area. SLF team also visited a local museum in Askoli village as a recreational treat.  This whole field survey proved to be fruitful in terms of determining status of bex and urial in Braldu valley and giving a necessary exposure to emerging researchers. Tahir, a Mphil student described his experience to be a learning one. “This was my first experience to apply standard ungulate survey techniques like Double Observer method and vintage point. The best thing for me was to observe wild ungulates in their natural wild habitat and learning how to deal with local communities and convince them for wildlife conservation”. The survey ended on 4th January,2017. Snow leopard foundation works for conservation of snow leopards in their habitat. Ibex and Ladakh urial are principle prey of snow leopard, therefore it is crucial to determine their status and population estimates in the snow leopard range. We are thankful to CKNP staff as they provided assistance throughout this survey. We have worked for saving snow leopards and we will continue to do so. Depiction of a kitchen in the Museum in Askoli village Ejaz, the team leader, viewing area through spotting scope Younas from SLF team viewing the area through spotting scopeTeam scanning the area in confluence of Pagma Glaciers