Transforming local attitudes of herders living with snow leopards

From her home village located in Nepal’s remote northwest district of Dolpo, near Shey Phoksundo National Park, Tshiring Lhamu Lama shared her concern over the villagers’ negative feelings about snow leopards. She writes:

Dolpo has the densest population of snow leopards in the country. However, subsistence livestock and crop farming are their major income of livelihood and losing their main income to predation.

Tshiring has become a well-respected local leader within her community, making outstanding progress in a short time with solutions that protect Dolpo herders’ most vital livelihood, thereby also saving the lives of snow leopards. Here, Tshiring and Rodney inspect a predator-proof corral.

A former Snow Leopard Junior Ranger in childhood, Tshiring has joined the Conservancy to save the lives of snow leopards. She is testing Foxlight deterrents before introducing them to other nearby villages, training the next generation of youth rangers, and providing snow leopard conservation awareness within the mainly women-comprised herder community of Dolpo.

Her seven months of monitoring data and heartfelt feedback meetings with local herders found the herders recognized the effectiveness of Foxlights in preventing goats and sheep being killed inside night-time corrals. Tshiring is also exploring snow leopard cultural and spiritual dimensions, empowering their Sacredness and restoring ancient legends to compel villagers to not kill or harm snow leopards, who are considered property of Mountain Deities.

With only ~300-400 snow leopards in Nepal, protecting every cat is critically important.