In Goldoor, a village near Chitral Gol National Park, the floods of July 2015 had washed away an old, unfortified retaining wall, entering the village and destroying water channels and standing maize crops. Mir Ammanullah, the president of Goldoor’s Conservation Committee, recalls the catastrophic night: “We lost our entire livelihoods due to this horrible flood; even drinking water was not available for us and our livestock.”
Help came from an unlikely place – a worldwide community of snow leopard lovers. Our local partner organization, the Snow Leopard Foundation (SLF) Pakistan, had worked with the people of Goldoor for many years to help them coexist with the area’s snow leopards. Thanks to our supporters’ generosity, they were able to step up for the community in this time of urgent human need. “It was a miracle when SLF approached us in these difficult times. With their help, we’ve rehabilitated our water channels and reconstructed the destroyed retaining walls that keep the Nullah (water stream, Gol in local language) at bay.”
“200 families are benefitting from this gift! We are all very grateful for what you have done for us”, Mir says. “Thanks to the reinforced retaining walls, the rains have not affected our water channels and crops this summer”, he adds.
“Help came to us because of the presence of the snow leopard and other wildlife, and our community’s efforts to protect them”, Mir says.
In nearby Drungah, a community of 3,000 people, the main pipeline supplying water for livestock, crops and orchards had been wiped away by the floods. Thick layers of mud and debris had blocked irrigation channels. Thanks to your help, the community has now been able to build a new, more solid pipeline at a location that’s much less vulnerable to disasters.
“The entire community is benefitting from this new pipeline. It has created an immense amount of goodwill toward conservation”, says Kashif Syed of the Snow Leopard Foundation.
We’re conservationists, our expertise and mandate lie in the conservation of ecosystems – and yet, we could not stand aside during this humanitarian crisis that affected families, communities, villages we’ve partnered with for over a decade to protect the endangered snow leopard.
The kindness our supporters have shown in helping the flood-stricken communities of Chitral has humbled and moved us deeply. They’ve not only made it possible for these families to rebuild their lives, but also strengthened the conservation partnership we have with them.