Students displaying their hands prints – Photo: Anil Adhikari

In the fall of 2022, a community-based snow leopard conservation project was implemented in Nepal’s two Himalayan districts. The project focused on local students and teachers from 12 schools located within and just outside the snow leopard’s range. A total of 589 students and 18 teachers took part in the multi-faceted project!

 Snow Leopard Scout Coordinator conducting the student orientation

One component of the project was a two-day Snow Leopard Scout Monitoring Camp. It was organized by Teka Samuha Nepal, a Kathmandu-based NGO, in conjunction with the Snow Leopard Conservancy and Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), along with the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC)-Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP).

First day field trip

Twenty-six participants, including students, their teachers, rangers, citizen scientists, and biologists, took part in the camp’s activities, which began with a hike to a pasture located at 11,800 ft that was surrounded by hills & snow-capped mountains.

Rojina from Teka Samuha Nepal giving instruction on completion of monitoring form

 Students monitoring for wildlife

The students were instructed on how to monitor for wildlife while at the same time being respectful of the environment.

Local Citizen Scientist Ramesh Sunar teaching camera trap set up

Ramesh demonstrating how to install a camera trap

They observed how a trail camera was set up to capture images and video of wildlife in the field. Breaking into two groups, the students practiced setting up camera traps and were quizzed on their knowledge.

The utilization of GPS monitoring for locating and tracking wildlife was also discussed and demonstrated.

ACAP Ranger Bimal Bohora teaching how to use GPS

Through active participation, the students gained an understanding of the importance of these technologies in monitoring an elusive species like the snow leopard.

 Wildlife Art Workshop

The students also learned about snow leopards; their characteristics, physical adaptations, behavior, habitat, and prey. Based on that information and what they’d observed in the field, the students then took part in a wildlife art workshop.

With a change in the weather, the group moved downhill, noting a Foxlight installation on a nearby corral. As a herder was present, the students had an opportunity to speak with him about the protection predator light deterrents provide his livestock.

Ecosystem Web of Life Game

The entire group participated in an ecosystem web of life game. They learned that even when only one or two elements are harmed or are missing, it negatively affects the entire ecosystem.

This activity underscored the importance of protecting the biodiversity of a fragile ecosystem like the high-mountain habitat of the snow leopard.

Student being rewarded by the Executive Director of Teka Samuha Nepal Anil Adhikari

Student being rewarded by ACAP Ranger Bimal Bohara

Teka Samuha Executive Director Anil Adhikari expressed gratitude to all the participants for making the two-day camp a wonderful success!

Snow Leopard Scout Camp Nepal 2022

We’re all looking forward to more Snow Leopard Scout camps in the future!

All photos unless otherwise indicated courtesy of Sarbesh Adhikari/TSN and Seema Srish/Modification Jomsom

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