When a wild snow leopard died of old age near the hamlet of Kibber, the community came together to pay their respects to the cat. Our local field coordinator, Kalzang Gurmet, shares this heart-warming story from his home village.
How a women-led handicraft enterprise in Spiti is helping in the conservation of the elusive Snow Leopard.
Our team in India’s Spiti Valley was treated to an extraordinary sighting of the elusive Ghost of the Mountain on a recent field visit. For Research Associate Ajay Bijoor, it was the first encounter with the cat he’s dedicated his life and career to. Read his account of an unforgettable day – and watch the amazing video footage the team managed to capture!
18 years ago, we established our first grazing-free village reserve for wild snow leopard prey in partnership with the community of Kibber, India. Today, the area’s population of bharal, a wild sheep that’s among the snow leopard’s preferred prey species, is about four times higher than it was before the reserve was set up. Nine more of these reserves have since been started elsewhere in India. It’s been an important conservation initiative, but also an educational experience.
Researcher Saloni Bhatia has examined the role of religion on people’s attitudes toward snow leopards and wolves. She didn’t find significant differences between Muslims’ and Buddhists’ tolerance for these predators. Overall, the conservation impact of religion seems to be limited – but not insignificant.
Ajay Bijoor, a project associate in our India team, has written a wonderful article about his experiences with the management of feral dogs in the Transhimalayan landscape of Spiti, India. We’re reposting it here with the kind permission of Ajay and Current Conservation magazine.
In our eco-camps, school kids in snow leopard habitat learn to reconnect to nature. The program has been a success in India and Mongolia for many years. Next year, we’re planning to launch eco-camps in Kyrgyzstan as well – so our Kyrgyz team visited a camp in Spiti, India, to learn from their colleague’s experience.
Ladakh, the starkly beautiful high mountain desert in India’s Jammu & Kashmir province, is one of the world’s best places to see wild snow leopards. It’s also one of our conservation focus areas. Our Communications Manager Matt Fiechter recently traveled to Ladakh to learn more about our ongoing community-based snow leopard conservation programs – and follow the tracks of the elusive Ghost Cat.
When snow leopards and other predators manage to enter herder’s corrals, the results can be devastating – but with teamwork, building supplies, and a couple of days’ time, the problem can be fixed, and conflicts avoided.
Our field coordinators in Spiti, India, talk about the impact of their work on the local community.