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Nordens Ark: A Leading Partner in Conservation

Our work would not be possible without strong partners. Nordens Ark, a nonprofit foundation based in Sweden working to protect endangered species, has been a leading partner of the Snow Leopard Trust in snow leopard research and conservation.

Fast Facts:

  • Nordens Ark is a Swedish nonprofit foundation that has been partnering with the Snow Leopard Trust for many years
  • At their zoo, visitors meet endangered animals in a magnificent setting alongside Åby fiord in Bohuslän, Sweden
  • Through their gift shop, Nordens Ark is selling Snow Leopard Enterprise products. In addition to this, they also financially support Ph.D. student Örjan Johansson’s work in our Long-Term Ecological Study in Mongolia
Åby Manor, home of Nordens Ark

Åby Manor, home of Nordens Ark. Rock carvings tell us that people have been living at Åby fiord for at least 3,000 years.

Nordens Ark, founded in 1988, is a non-profit foundation aiming to provide self-sustainable, viable populations of threatened species through conservation breeding and reintroduction programs as well as through research and disseminating information.

The snow leopard has been a symbol for Nordens Ark´s conservation work since the foundation was established in 1988. “We have successfully kept snow leopards at our home base in Åby Manor for many generations since the early 1990th, says Claes Andrén, Nordens Ark’s science director. ”I think our focus on the snow leopard is a combination of our close and trustful relation with the Snow Leopard Trust, and our cooperation with Swedish researchers Örjan Johansson and Gustaf Samelius. And it may also have something to do with our Managing Director Lena M Lindén and her heart, which beats particularly strongly for cats.”

Claes Andrén, holding a rear fanged cat snake

Claes Andrén, holding a rear fanged cat snake during an expedition to the Kavir Desert, Iran, supported by National Geographic and the Swedish national Television.

The partnership between the Snow Leopard Trust and Nordens Ark began with their gift shop selling Snow Leopard Enterprise products, made by local communities who live with snow leopards. “We believe that successful conservation projects involving a large predator can only be achieved in close cooperation and agreement with the local society”, says Claes Andrén.

A Partner in Science

Over the years, this partnership has grown significantly. “We wanted to do more for snow leopards and decided to financially support Ph.D. student Örjan Johansson’s thesis, during which he was working for the Snow Leopard Trust in their long-term study in Mongolia in partnership with Panthera and Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation”, Claes Andrén explains.

Örjan Johansson, collaring a wild snow leopard in Mongolia

Örjan Johansson, collaring a wild snow leopard in Mongolia - thanks to Nordens Ark's support

Regular readers will no doubt recognize Örjan as ‘The Man who Collars Cats’, our field researcher in Mongolia whose work was instrumental in many of our most important recent findings. In addition to supporting Örjan’s position, Nordens Ark also paid for two of the satellite collars we’ve been using to follow and track snow leopards.

What the future holds…

While Örjan is wrapping up his Ph.D., the partnership between Nordens Ark and the Snow Leopard Trust keeps growing: “Snow leopards are still threatened, and our goal is to improve their survival chances by creating sustainable conservation programs”, Claes explains. “We aim to follow a local-to-global approach, starting with grassroots community actions and then working up to national policies and international cooperation.”

Following this philosophy of conservation, in the fall of 2012, the Snow Leopard Trust and Nordens Ark have filed a joint grant application with the Swedish Postcode Lottery with the goal of developing a comprehensive and sustainable field conservation program to help secure the future of snow leopards in Central Asian mountains – and we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a positive outcome!

Background on Nordens Ark

the fired-bellied toad

Nordens Ark successfully reintroduced the once extinct fire-bellied toad to Sweden - the toad has since been removed from the national Red list of threatened species

At Nordens Ark visitors will meet endangered animals in a magnificent setting alongside Åby fiord in Bohuslän, Sweden.

Nordens Ark is home to some 80 species that thrive in the local climate of Åby Manor, an impressive part of Sweden´s protected national heritage. Animals include snow leopards, Amur tigers, Amur leopards, wolves, lynxes and old native breeds, as well as endangered birds and amphibians.

As a non-profit foundation working to give threatened species a future, Nordens Ark also conducts breeding, research and education and participates in international conservation projects such as the Long-Term Ecological Study in Mongolia.

 

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