Celebrating Local Champions of Snow Leopard Conservation

Jun 6, 2019 2:18 am

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2018 Annual Report

  • 141 Livestock Corrals . . . secured from snow leopard attacks in Nepal, India, and Pakistan since 2010.
  • 60 Wildlife Monitors . . . including indigenous sacred site guardians, shamans, and community supporters have been trained and mobilized in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and Russia.
  • Over 15,000 Community Members . . . reached via Snow Leopard Day Festivals in Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, and Tajikistan the past two years.
  • 8 Communities . . . continued a ban on hunting in Baltistan, Pakistan, and renewed their commitment to snow leopard conservation.
  • Land of the Snow Leopard Network (LOSL)
    • Member communities in Tajikistan twice released livestock-raiding snow leopards back into the wild.
    • Guide & Mongolian Shaman Buyanbadrakh led the effort to officially designate the Spirit Lord of Sutai Mountain as a Spiritual & Cultural Sacred Site of the Mongolian Altai.
    • Guide & Buddhist leader Norbu Lama led the effort to officially designate his home region in Russia’s Buryat Republic as a Territory of Traditional Use of Natural Resources.

The Snow Leopard Conservancy has always stood for community-based conservation action as the snow leopard’s best hope for survival.


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Photo: Tashi R. Ghale

Ganga Ram Regmi and Rinzin Lama install a trail camera to monitor snow leopards and other wildlife in Nepal.


Pema Mustangi

Photo: Pema Mustangi

Pema Mustangi works with Nepali herders in using Foxlights and other non-invasive predator deterrents. These efforts contribute to reductions in livestock depredation by snow leopards.


Tashi Ghale Disney Award

Photo: Tashi R. Ghale

Tashi Ghale received a 2018 Disney Conservation Hero Award for his work with the Conservancy as a citizen scientist, particularly using his knowledge of his homeland of Manang, Nepal, to capture photographs of wild snow leopards.



Photo: BWCDO

Ghulam Mohammad manages conservation and education programs in Pakistan under the Baltistan Wildlife Conservation & Development Organization’s Project Snow Leopard.


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The Land of Snow Leopard (LOSL) Network includes over 100 organizations and individuals, with 7 Country Coordinators. The program area spans more than 600,000 sq. miles, and the countries and languages of Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, and the Altai and Buryat Republics of Russia. LOSL members collect interviews, stories, photos, and videos for a unique data base. The summaries allow for sharing the data, identifiying commonalities, creating reports, and developing educational tools. Our members are already taking an active lead in reviving traditional practices that save snow leopards. This program is a unique attempt to standardize the integration of culturally important data into conservation planning and action for snow leopards.



Charleen Gavette, Conservancy Program Officer, clarifies a point at a recent workshop. LOSL members created a geo-spatial App to record observational data, including wildlife sightings and poaching incidents. These data can support the Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection Plan and its goal of protecting 20 landscape-level snow leopard populations by the year 2020.



Slava Chelteuv is both Shaman and Guardian of the Sacred Mountain Irbis Tuu, (Snow Leopard Mountain) in the Altai Republic of Russia.



Photo: BBCIC

Mongolian Shaman Buyanbadrakh honors the mountain spirits during a gathering of the LOSL Network.



Photo: BBCIC

Norbu Lama at the base of Sacred Monkh Saridag Mountain where he conducts the annual ceremony to honor Snow Leopard as the community’s protector. This area is part of the new Territory of Traditional Use, a designation that gives local people the authority to conduct activities such as establishing tourism, protesting mining, or forbidding hunting.



Photo: BBCIC

Zahaparkul Raymbekov is Guardian of the Sacred Site Arashan in Kyrgyzstan. Snow leopards visit this site. Zhaparkul also serves as intermediary for visitors or local residents who wish to receive the blessings of the ancestors.



To Our Supporters:

Donations made in 2018 made a significant difference for conservation of wild snow leopards. They have helped the Conservancy move toward greater collaboration and alliance-making with organizations that strengthen our capacity to facilitate community-based conservation. For example, by joining the Mountain Partnership, which is hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Conservancy is better able to bring governments into progrmas that improve the lives of the mountain communities while protecting mountain environments.

The Conservancy led a policy study on how major structural changes taking place in Nepal’s government might impact conservation. Thanks to your support providing the required co-financing, we received a major three-year grant from the Darwin Initiative. With this grant, our team is able to take the lessons learned from our policy study and apply them in two areas of Nepal to help local communities fund and promote snow leopard conservation. Activities being carried out by our Nepali partners include development of training manuals for newly elected local government officials, a baseline of snow leopard and prey populations, and creation of a special Snow Leopard trek as part of new enterprise development.

Alliances on a smaller scale can also be highly effective. In Kyrgyzstan, the snow leopard was the mascot for the second biennial World Nomad Games. As the Games drew some 10,000 spectators, this presented a great opportunity for our Land of the Snow Leopard Network to educate people about Kyrgyzstan’s sacred big cats. Your funding underwrote a play performed by middle and high school students based on the traditional precept that tragedy will befall anyone who kills a snow leopard.

Plase join us in celebrating the local champions of  snow leopard conservation. We are so grateful for your support to both the Conservancy and these mountain communities.

Rodney Jackson,

2018 Annual Report  

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Endangered Species Day at the Cosley Zoo

May 28, 2019 5:01 pm

Endangered Species Day

On Saturday, May 18, 2019, the Conservancy participated in the Cosley Zoo’s Endangered Species Day event. Cosley Zoo is an AZA accredited facility that is home to native Illinois wildlife. Their natural habitat exhibits display white-tailed deer, red fox, bobcats, a coyote, a black-crowned night heron, Blanding’s turtles, and more. Each year, Cosley selects several large-scale conservation initiatives with whom to partner. The zoo is also involved in the rearing of young Blanding’s turtles, an endangered Illinois native reptile, and releasing them into their natural wetland habitat. Cosley Zoo is a center for animal education and conservation and is always welcoming to the Snow Leopard Conservancy as we share the message of conservation of wildlife. Their Earth Day event that we were planning on attending was unfortunately cancelled due to snow, but the weather for the Endangered Species Day event was beautiful, and attendance was good. Our outreach educator, Shavaun Kidd spoke about snow leopard conservation to attendees, who also had the opportunity to purchase a variety of fund-raising items from snow leopard plush to our Conservancy shirts. We look forward to being part of next year’s events.


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Welcome to the Newest Member of the Conservancy Staff

May 6, 2019 11:48 pm

Kathy 002Kathy Ah San is the Snow Leopard Conservancy’s new Admin Manager. She joined the staff in March of 2019.

Kathy has studied biology, business, and teaching. Over the course of a long work life, she has worked in a wide range of occupations, including research, teaching, and accounting.

Kathy is happy to be a part of the staff of the Snow Leopard Conservancy where she can use her skills and education to further the goals of this wonderful organization.

You can read more about Kathy here.




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Earth Day 2019 – Protect Our Species

Apr 22, 2019 1:18 pm

Snow Leopard - Steve Tracy

The theme of this year’s Earth Day is Protect Our Species. At present, we are experiencing an alarmingly increased rate of extinction of the planet’s species. This is being driven by human activity such as disruption and loss of habitat due to mining, logging, and the creation of dams, roads, and walls, increased use of pesticides, pollution of the air, land, and water, climate change, illegal trafficking and poaching for animals’ skin, fur, and bones, and nonsustainable agropastoral practices to name a few.  As stated on the Earth Day official website, “all living things have an intrinsic value, and each plays a unique role in the complex web of life. We must work together to protect endangered and threatened species.”

The Snow Leopard Conservancy works diligently with local communities to protect the Snow Leopard, a keystone species of the high Asian Mountain ecosystem. A major portion of the snow leopard’s habitat, the Hindu Kush-Himalaya region and the Tibetan Plateau are referred to as The Third Pole because this area’s ice fields contain the largest reserve of fresh water on the planet other than the North and South polar regions. It includes the countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar and is the source of Asia’s 10 major river systems that provide water for drinking and irrigation to more than 1.3 billion people or about 20% of the world’s population.

The Conservancy’s main focus in the preservation of the snow leopard is mitigation of people-predator conflict. People and their livestock live within the snow leopard habitat. When the snow leopard preys upon livestock rather than native prey, herders sometimes resort to killing the snow leopard to alleviate the problem. In order to protect the snow leopard and change peoples’ attitudes so that it is seen as an asset rather than a threat, the Snow Leopard Conservancy works with herders to predator-proof their corrals, implement electronic light deterrents, and develop community-managed insurance programs. The Conservancy also promotes ecotourism initiatives such as Himalayan Homestays and snow leopard photography treks to reduce economic dependence on the raising of sheep and goats.

Please join with us today to protect the Snow Leopard.


Photos courtesy of Steve Tracy.

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Celebrating the Spirit of Snow Leopards with the Land of the Snow Leopard Network

Feb 10, 2019 9:37 pm

The Snow Leopard Conservancy facilitates a broad-reaching program, Land of the Snow Leopard Network (LOSL). On February 2, we held an event, Celebrating the Spirit of Snow Leopards.

Susan Janin & Rodney Jackson

Susan Janin & Rodney Jackson

Three of our LOSL members, Maria Azhunova, Alexander Khamaganov, and Rinchin Garmaev, traveled to San Francisco from the Southern Siberian Buryat Republic. Snow leopards are a totem animal and protector of the people who live in this region.

LOSL members Maria Azhunova, Alexander Khamaganov, and Rinchin Garmaev with Rodney Jackson.

LOSL members Maria Azhunova, Alexander Khamaganov, and Rinchin Garmaev with Rodney Jackson.

Our guest speakers presented a beautiful video about their work within the LOSL Network, and they described the importance of Indigenous Cultural Practitioners (Elders, Shamans, Sacred Site Guardians) in promoting conservation.

Norbu Lama

Norbu Lama

One such practitioner featured in the video is Norbu Lama. He successfully worked to gain official protected status for a sacred site in the Buryat Republic. Norbu, who is a beloved community leader, is present at births, marriages, funerals, and other milestones, and his teachings are respected and heeded. When he visits a school, the children pay attention to what he says about the need to protect snow leopards and to revive the ancient traditional practices that revere and conserve nature.

Rodney Jackson, Darla Hillard, Jak Wonderly, Bob Wilson, & Charleen Gavette

Rodney Jackson, Darla Hillard, Jak Wonderly, Bob Wilson, & Charleen Gavette

Guests at the event said how inspired and moved they were by the presentation. Thank you, Maria, Alexander, and Rinchin, for making the afternoon such a wonderful success!

Photographs of the event are courtesy of Kathy Gervais and Susan Janin. Featured photo courtesy of Peter Bolliger

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