2015 has been dubbed the “Year of the Snow Leopard” by the 12 range countries. For the Snow Leopard Trust, it will be a year full of exciting challenges – and thanks to your outstanding support in 2014, we’re hitting the ground rolling!
This past fall season, you have set records in donations, adoptions and purchases for the benefit of snow leopard conservation!
On GivingTuesday, you helped us unlock a match, for a total of over $40,000 in donations – the largest ever single-day total in our history.
Then, you kept the momentum going and contributed to a total of more than $100,000 in online donations and sales for December; the first time we’ve ever reached this milestone.
These funds will allow us to get to work on some of our most ambitious projects in 2015:
In India, we’re planning the country’s first ever GPS collaring of snow leopards.
In partnership with the Himachal Pradesh Forest Department and NCF India, our team is currently testing equipment in the field; making sure everything is planned perfectly for this exciting, pioneering project.
The Indian study will complement our ongoing long-term snow leopard study in Mongolia’s South Gobi – a very different habitat from that of the Indian Himalayas.
Led by country director Kuban Jumabai uluu, our team in the Kyrgyz Republic will continue its groundbreaking work on the country’s largest-ever snow leopard population study, surveying the vast, remote Sarychat-Ertash Nature Reserve with research cameras – purchased thanks to your amazing generosity on Giving Tuesday!
The team’s previous efforts have already produced a series of stunning photos. But more importantly, as the dataset grows and grows, Kuban and his team can start to analyze and draw conclusions on the area’s cat population – and we’re eagerly awaiting the results!
In Mongolia, we’re planning to expand highly successful grassroots community conservation initiatives such as Snow Leopard Enterprises, our flagship handicraft program that just reached $1 million in sales last year. The same program will also be launched in India in the coming year – another step forward in its development.
We’ll also continue to grow the livestock insurance program, which compensates herders for livestock lost to snow leopard predation.
On the international level, your support will allow us to continue to play a leadership role in the Global Snow Leopard Forum and on the path to realizing the dream of securing 20 snow leopard landscapes by 2020, as outlined in the Bishkek Declaration.
In particular, we’re supporting the salaries of key members of the Global Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Protection Plan; program director, Keshav Varma, and program officer, Koustubh Sharma.
Thanks to the great end-of-year results, we’ll also be able to help facilitate a steering committee meeting in the spring of 2015, where management plans for the protection of these snow leopard landscapes will be discussed.