Project History & Aims
The Snow Leopard Trust (SLT) is the world’s leading authority on the study and protection of the endangered snow leopard. The trust works in 5 of the 12 countries where snow leopards are found, China, India, Krgyzstan, Mongolia and Pakistan, covering over 75% of the wild snow leopard population. The trust chooses one landscape area of approximately 4000km2 in each country to focus conservation and research efforts. The trust aims to create sustainable conservation programmes that benefit both wildlife and the local communities, carrying out research and monitoring to continually analyse the effects of their work.
FROM HUNTING RESERVE TO WILDLIFE SANCTUARY A NEW APPROACH TO PROTECT SNOW LEOPARDS AND THEIR PREY
In partnership with the Kyrgyz government, the Snow Leopard Trust is turning an area where ibex were commercially hunted into a nature reserve. The 100-square-mile former hunting concession, Shamshy, is located in Kyrgyzstan’s northern Tian Shan Mountains and is home to ibex, a wild goat, and seasonal populations of argali, a wild sheep. Shamshy is a good snow leopard habitat and has the potential to become a key part of the home ranges of several snow leopards if its wild hoof stock population could be increased.
NEW TERRITORY FOR LONG-TERM STUDY IN MONGOLIA
A 1,500km2 area of Mongolia’s Gurvansaikhan Mountains is home to multiple snow leopards and young, according to a first glance at photographs from motion sensing research cameras. Expanding into Gurvansaikhan has effectively tripled the area of their long-term study since it began in 2008. The long-term study originally focused on a core area of 1,500km2 in the TostTosonbumba Mountains. The snow leopard population there was thought to be isolated due to the flat, open steppe that surrounded the mountain range. But data from satellite tracking collars soon showed three snow leopards crossing wide stretches of inhospitable landscape and migrating to neighbouring mountain ranges. So now camera surveys are being carried out in multiple mountain ranges to estimate snow leopard populations, study population trends, and look for evidence of snow leopard migration.
PILOT PROGRAM DELIVERS ON PROMISES
Five years and 18,000 animals later, a pilot livestock insurance programme in Mongolia is showing excellent signs of success. A recent external review found the programme stable and ready to expand to help more herders and protect more snow leopards. In 2009, SLT collaborated with their partner in Mongolia, the Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation, to begin a livestock insurance program in the Tost Mountains of South Gobi Province. With no government compensation programmes available, the goal was to develop a community-managed solution that would offset financial damage from livestock losses to carnivores. For five years, 30 herder families paid insurance premiums and upheld conservation contracts. Elected committee leaders worked with livestock owners to verify losses, and communities held regular insurance meetings to discuss livestock depredation and decide compensation rates.
2015 statistics at a glance
- SLT helped 12 range countries agree to a global conservation strategy for snow leopard habitat
- Provided a four-day training course for frontline rangers from 20 Protected Areas
- Expanded Snow Leopard Enterprises in Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan and India. A total of 350 families have made over 33,000 hand-crafted items earning an average of $100-300 extra income per year each.
- More than 86,000 livestock from 3,900 households in northern Pakistan were vaccinated this summer, showing a drop in disease mortality of over 50%, providing compensation for livestock depredation.
- 63 school nature clubs and eco-camps for over 150 children were supported by SLT in India and Pakistan.
- Training in India for over 100 officers guarding the Indo-Tibetan border took place, with a hope that this will prevent cross-border wildlife smuggling.
How is Banham Zoo supporting the Snow Leopard Trust?
In 2015 Banham Zoo donated £2,500 to the SNOW LEOPARD TRUST.
A total of £15,852 has been donated by Banham Zoo since 2008.
For further information go to www.snowleopard.org.
Photos courtesy of The Snow Leopard Trust.