Beautiful and elusive, the snow leopard inhabits one of the harshest environments on earth. Learn how the Snow Leopard Trust closely works with local communities on income generation activities to save this fascinating species.
The Snow Leopard is the flagship species for some of the most spectacular mountains in Central Asia including the Himalaya, Tian Shan and Karakorum. Snow Leopards are famed for their long tail, thick spotted fur, and ability to hunt down sheer cliffs; but unfortunately even here, on the 'roof of the world' Snow Leopards are endangered due to threats that include poaching and persecution by local herding communities.
With support from SOS - Save Our Species, the Snow Leopard Trust and its NGO partner in Pakistan, Snow Leopard Foundation, will initiate community-focused conservation programs to curb poaching and retribution killing of Snow Leopards in Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan Province. In particular, the project will target villages within Central Karakoram Conservation Complex (CKCC), and areas that includes Central Karakorum National Park (CNKP) and adjoining valleys, and which is thought to have the highest concentrations of Snow Leopards in Pakistan.
To address these issues facing Snow Leopards, the project team will work with communities to start economic development programs linked to conservation. These programs-a Livestock Insurance Program and a Livestock Vaccination Program-have been proven to help ameliorate tensions between herders and Snow Leopards. Through the Livestock Insurance Program, households can insure livestock and receive compensation for animals lost to such predator species. The Livestock Vaccination Program reduces the number of livestock lost to disease so herders can more readily tolerate livestock losses to predation. The effectiveness of these programs will be augmented with educational outreach activities aimed at building greater awareness and appreciation for Snow Leopards.
With the support from SOS - Save Our Species, the project plans to pilot these programs in 10 villages across five key CKCC valleys. Overall, it is hoped the project will not only reduce poaching and retribution killing of Snow Leopards, but help local herders improve herding and animal husbandry practices and increase their economic opportunities in environmentally sustainable ways.