Throughout Central Asia, there is great need to engage and involve local communities in management of protected areas. Increased community engagement in their conservation might allow for the increase in safety and numbers of snow leopards. Poaching, loss of natural wild prey and intensifying human-wildlife conflict are major threats to this cat in Kyrgyzstan, whose mountains host around 200 individuals of only 3,500 that live in the wild.
This project will build on innovative conservation practices, aiming to convert hunting concessions and unprotected lands to wildlife conservancies, and develop scalable community-conservation programs. Planned activities include:
- Increase of the number and coverage of co-managed protected areas in the Ala-Too Mountains;
- Raising awareness of snow leopard conservation issues amongst the local community and engage them in the activities;
- Piloting community-based conservation programs (e.g. handicrafts, predator-proof corrals, livestock insurance, ecotourism, etc.);
- Organisation of 10 eco-camps in Shamshy for children;
- Holding nature courses and creating nature clubs in 3 areas for school children;
- Building capacity for engaging communities in conservation and management planning.
By building partnership between government and local communities, this project will reduce threats to snow leopards and significantly increase the amount of Snow leopard habitat under protection. This project will improve protected area co-management and expand community engagement in conservation to unprotected lands to help local communities engage in and benefit from conservation. It will help communities understand the importance of Snow leopard conservation, and offer economic and livelihood improvements such as direct cash, financial stabilization, economic offsets, and/or buffers against predation, serving as a model that can be scaled-up nationally and in the region.