With so many projects planned for this year, now is a great time to look back at some of the hard work and success of 2011. One of our focus areas for snow leopard conservation is the Spiti Valley of northern India, and we are proud to share an update about our success!
Threat to snow leopards:
Research has shown that herders in snow leopard habitats can lose 3-12% of their total livestock to snow leopards per year. This causes severe economic hardship, and snow leopards are often persecuted as a result.
Working with communities to find a solution:
In 2011, the Trust supported 10 villages in their effort to run community-based conservation programs. 7 villages are managing livestock insurance programs aimed at compensating herders for livestock to snow leopards, and 3 villages established grazing-free reserves that leave land and resources open for the snow leopard’s wild prey to use.
Additionally, 20 schools in the Spiti Valley participated in multiple educational events during the year. We reached out to a total of 750 children and 50 teachers!
We center these programs on sound science and research. We used 40 research cameras to collect data for estimating snow leopard abundance and pioneered a new method to estimate prey populations. Within 5 villages, interviews were completed to assess perceptions and attitudes towards snow leopards as well.
Because you support our efforts, there were no reported cases of a snow leopard or a prey species being poached or killed within these communities!
But we can’t stop there! There were reports of a snow leopard being killed in a nearby village, a place where we are not currently active. We plan to reach out to that village this summer to see if we can partner with them and reduce the conflicts between people and snow leopards.