Here are some recent examples of your donor dollars at work:
Local monitors have been trained in camera trapping in Siberia, Bhutan and Nepal with some spectacular results, as above. While giving indigenous communities a role in conserving their cats, these images are also helping to refine overall estimates of wild snow leopards.
The Conservancy supported the second annual International Snow Leopard Day Festival in Siberia’s Altai Republic. Children from Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, and the Altai Republic created performances and art to impress upon their elders the need to coexist with the snow leopard.
Click on the photo above for a short video of a performance by Arailym, who is in 5th grade in Bayan Ulgi, Mongolia. She is singing in the old traditional Altai Maktal style of the Mongolian Altai Mountains, the stronghold of the Mongolian throat singers. The words of the song, which is in praise of the Altai Mountains, may differ from one village to another but the style and melody are one. Arailym’s dance is the traditional Biyelgee, which originated with Mongolian livestock herders.
Livestock depredation is a major source of conflict between people and snow leopards. To date, the Conservancy has supported the improvement of more than 80 corrals in India, Nepal and Pakistan. One herder in Ladakh commented: “We herded our sheep and goats into the new pen, locked the door and walked the two miles to our home. In the morning, there were tracks of a snow leopard all around the pen but we lost none of our animals. As Buddhists, we are very happy, for the sake of our livestock, and for the snow leopards who might now go back to hunting blue sheep. Also we are very happy because now we shepherds can go home and get a good night’s sleep.”
Your gifts supported a concerted effort by the Conservancy and the Snow Leopard Network (SLN), a 450+ member-strong alliance to stop the Mongolian Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism from issuing permits allowing the hunting of four snow leopards “for research purposes.” SLN sent a letter to the Minister requesting that the permit be revoked. Not long after, the government rescinded the permits.
Genetic analysis of snow leopard scat has greatly expanded the information we can obtain on this incredibly elusive cat. Your funding has helped us and our partners lead the way in applying these techniques. Herders themselves are helping to identify sites where effective conservation measures can be implemented at the local and regional (landscape) level.
By monitoring scat, herders also help to identify the best corridors with good quality habitat that connect each isolated snow leopard population “patch” with its nearest neighbor.
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