The Snow Leopard Trust actively engages local governments in the 5 countries where we work to develop environmental policy wherever it concerns snow leopard conservation. In partnership with the Nature Conservation Foundation, we drafted and launched the landmark initiative ‘Project Snow Leopard’ in India.
This project, for the first time in large carnivore conservation, recognizes the importance of protecting snow leopards even outside the protected areas. As part of this project, approximately 3000 km2 were identified as important snow leopard habitat in each of the 5 Himalayan states of India. An innovative management plan was developed for one such important snow leopard habitat in the state of Himachal Pradesh. This management plan goes beyond protected areas to encourage that human development continue with conservation efforts in mind.
We are now actively involved in making similar management plans for a ‘Local Protected Area’ in the South Gobi region of Mongolia. In 2010, large mining companies threatened both herder’s homes and important snow leopard habitat with exploratory permits. Together with our Snow Leopard Enterprise partner communities living in the region, we sought protected status for the area we knew to be home to at least 15 snow leopards. In December of that year, a 7-year ‘Local Protected Area’ certification was granted.
The Trust and our partner communities are now working to elevate the status of the ‘Local Protected Area’ to a ‘State Protected Area’. We are also currently involved in drafting a management plan that will ensure the land is kept safe for the duration of the 7-year certification.