Over the course of the year, we have experienced excitement, triumph, tragedy and hope in our fight for the future of the snow leopard Through all of it, your incredible support has remained the rock-solid foundation that our work is built upon.
You volunteered, shared posts and photos, and purchased a record number of products to help the cats. You adopted snow leopards, and gave generously to help fund our community conservation and research programs. In September, you stepped up in a huge way when our partner communities in Pakistan needed help after a devastating flood, and later helped us raise a record amount to fight poaching and illegal hunting of these cats in Kyrgyzstan.
We’d like to share some of the highlights from 2015, and some of our favorite wild snow leopard photos, to show the direct impact of your support! Thank you so much for all you do to help these magnificent cats!
Global Snow Leopard Conservation
- The Snow Leopard Trust helped 12 range countries agree to a global conservation strategy covering over 500,000 sq km of snow leopard habitat.
- In September 2015, we co- hosted an Illegal Wildlife Trade Workshop in collaboration with INTERPOL, UNDP, and Snow Leopard Foundation in Kyrgyzstan to develop a strategy for combating illegal wildlife trade in Central Asia. Representatives from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Tajikistan agreed to greater sharing of information, resources and operations across international boundaries.
- In collaboration with IWT Challenge Fund, SLT began a three- year project to launch a new nationwide program that will award and publicly recognize rangers and community members who apprehend illegal hunters.
- In September 2015, SLT and INTERPOL provided a four- day training in wildlife law enforcement for front- line rangers from 20 Protected Areas.
- In 2015, we expanded Snow Leopard Enterprises in Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan and India. Thus far, 350 families have made over 33,000 handicrafted items. Most participants are earning, on average, between $100- 300 in extra income per year.
- During summer 2015, over 86,000 livestock were vaccinated from 3,900 households in northern Pakistan. Our data show livestock mortality due to disease has dropped by more than 50% in participating villages, providing communities with a buffer against livestock depredation by snow leopards.
- In India and Pakistan, SLT supported Nature Clubs in 63 schools and eco- camps for over 150 children.
- In India, our team presented information on local wildlife and conservation for 100 officers of the “Dogra Scouts” who guard the Indo- Tibetan border. We hope the training will help prevent cross-border wildlife smuggling.
- Tsetsen, collared in April of 2015, became the 20th cat to be collared in our long- term study. In October and November, he covered 283 km (176 miles) — the distance between London and York. He also climbed over 7,100 meters—an altitude gain equivalent to climbing up and down the world’s tallest building 12 times over.
- After years of training park rangers, environmental officials, and biologists, we now have the capacity to conduct multiple snow leopard population surveys each year across three mountain ranges in Mongolia covering over 4,500 km2.
- To date, we have been able to collar more snow leopards than all other studies put together, which is yielding valuable information on male/female home ranges, juvenile dispersement, hunting behavior, and cat interactions.
- In 2015, two important manuscripts were completed and accepted into peer- reviewed publications. One important discovery is that adult male snow leopards kill larger prey and 2- 6 times more livestock compared to females and young males, and thus retaliatory killing by livestock herders is likely to cause greater mortality of adult male snow leopards compared to females and young males.
- Another recently completed study documented that women tend to have greater negative feelings towards predators than men. It is important findings like these that help to improve our programs.