Our livestock insurance program helps rural communities reduce the financial impact of snow leopard predation by giving them access to compensation for animals lost.
For the families who share the snow leopard’s habitat, the loss of even a single animal to predation can create great financial hardship. Occasionally, herders may may retaliate against snow leopards to protect their animals and limit their losses.
Through our livestock insurance program, the local community manages an insurance pools specifically designated to reimburse families who lose domestic animals to snow leopard predation.
Losing parts of the basis of your livelihood is devastating – especially to people living on less than $2 a day. It’s also part of live for herder communities living in snow leopard habitat.
Snow leopards are predators, and they occasionally kill domestic livestock.
Many families who live in snow leopard habitat depend entirely on their herds of livestock for food and wealth. These domestic animals graze on the limited local vegetation, and enter into a competition with the snow leopard’s wild prey species, who depend on those same pastures.
The snow leopard prefers its wild prey – and may depend on it for its survival – but the cat will occasionally take down livestock when presented with the opportunity during a hunt.
Because these families typically live on less than $2 per day, the loss of even a single animal can create great financial hardship. Herders may retaliate against snow leopards to protect their animals, or set steel-jaw traps to stop the cats before they get too close.
Our community-managed livestock insurance program breaks this vicious circle. Its operates on a village level, and works much like any other insurance scheme.
The Snow Leopard Trust provides the necessary funding to build a strong financial foundation. Then, participating herders contribute premiums for any animal they want to insure, helping the program to become self-sustaining over time.
If a family lose livestock to snow leopards, they can submit a claim and receive reimbursement for the loss. The insurance fund as well as the reimbursement process is managed by the local community.
In order to participate, each herder must sign a conservation agreement in which they pledge to protect the snow leopards and wild prey species in their area from poaching. If any community member violates this contract, they are no longer able to participate in the insurance program.
Additionally, a small annual bonus is paid out from the insurance fund to the participating herder who loses the fewest animals to predation. This creates a financial incentive to prevent snow leopard access to herds by increasing herd safety and herder vigilance.
As part of the insurance program, communities also agree to leave more food for the snow leopard’s wild prey by setting aside graze-free areas. In some cases, the lost ability to use this land can cause a hardship on the community. We work together with community leaders to determine a fair price for compensation, which we pay for separately from the insurance funds.