KATHMANDU: Due to the chance of COVID-19, the blue sheep census in the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area in Taplejung district has been halted.
The entry ban in the Taplejung district’s Olangchunggola and Yangma areas has hampered the counting of blue sheep program.
A technical team dispatched from the Kanchenjunga Area Office for the reason has become stranded at Lelep, according to Chief Conservation Officer Ganesh Prasad Tiwari.
“People have been fully barred from entering the Olangchunggola and Yangma areas in order to avoid the spread of COVID-19. As a result, the team will be unable to reach these areas for the blue sheep census,” he said.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has given the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Management Council one million rupees for the blue sheep census.
Last month, WWF and the Council signed a Rs 4 million program agreement for blue sheep observation and snow leopard protection. The software will run until the middle of July.
A blue sheep census was performed in the area six years ago, and 2,200 blue sheep were counted.
Meanwhile, the number of snow leopards in the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area is thought to have increased.
The last count, 18 years ago, found 12 snow leopards in the region, and it is estimated that there are now at least 29.