Elders and Youth for Conservation of the Snow Leopard is a Land of Snow Leopard (LOSL) Network educational program centered around indigenous understanding of the sacredness and cultural and environmental significance of the snow leopard across central Asia. Located in Kyrgyzstan, the program is supported by a grant from IUCN Save Our Species, entitled “Sustaining Indigenous Communities in Snow Leopard Conservation.”

The Elders & Youth for Conservation of the Snow Leopard program is the vision of Zhaparkul Raimbekov, a founding member of LOSL, spiritual guide, and Giver of Blessings.

In the video below, Zhaparkul describes a Kyrgyz legend to his grandchildren that emphasizes the spiritual importance of the snow leopard.

During this past summer, LOSL has been producing the Nature Trunk curriculum as video lessons and testing some of the training techniques with the LOSL Country Coordinators, who will be conducting the training. Under the IUCN Save Our Species grant, teachers who serve remote communities in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will be trained to conduct all 25 lessons in the trunks and to follow up with monitoring and evaluation templates that teachers and students will complete.

These traveling trunks contain a treasure trove of conservation lessons. Through interactive games and instruction, students learn about the biodiversity of the local wildlife and how each species interacts with and contributes to the environment.

Increasing knowledge and developing awareness is imperative for the survival of the snow leopard, which is listed as vulnerable in the
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Land of Snow Leopard Network was recently invited to be a presenter for the Snow Leopard Network’s Online Conservation Education Training Module. Participating were Zhaparkul Raimbekov, Almagul Osmonova, and Kuluipa Akmatova, LOSL Country Coordinators for Kyrgyzstan, as well as Altai Republic coordinator Lyubov Ivashkina.

The training sessions featured LOSL and our approach via spiritual leaders and Indigenous practices. Discussion focused on both Zhaparkul’s Elders and Youth program and the expansion of the Nature Trunk program from Mongolia to all five LOSL areas. One participant commented, “Zhaparkul’s presence and his story made a real connection with something sacred and powerful.”

This training module is a dynamic and informative overview of purposeful implementation of conservation education and can be viewed in its entirety on the Snow Leopard Network’s website.

View the Training Module

Photos: LOSL

IUCN Save Our Species aims to improve the long term survival prospects of threatened species. It also focuses on supporting the species’ habitats and working with the communities who share this habitat. It achieves success by funding and coordinating conservation projects into multiple initiatives across the globe.

Funded by IUCN Save Our Species