Part I: Gustaf
Dr. Gustaf Samelius, Assistant Director of Science for the Snow Leopard Trust, is working from his apartment in Sweden. He is helping two of our team members in Mongolia prepare their papers for scientific publication. One of those is Nadia Mijiddorj’s paper on herder’s perspectives of climate change and this other is Otgontamir (Tamir) Chimed’s paper on how to use educational materials to raise awareness about the Pallas’s cat.
Part II: Buyandelger
Buyandelger, an intern at Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation (our partner organization in Mongolia), is working from home to identify snow leopard individuals from this year’s camera trap work. This work will help grow our library of snow leopard records based on spot patterns. These identification efforts provide vital information on the status and population trends of snow leopards, and can help identify emerging threats.
Do you want to join Buyandelger in identifying snow leopards? Test your snow leopard spotting skills and help our science team test their new Snow Leopard ID Training Program. Find more details here: snowleopard.org/the-ultimate-spot-the-snow-leopard-challenge/
Part III: Munib
Munib, a Research Scholar at Nature Conservation Foundation (our partner organization in India), is working from home to refine his PhD research study. Munib also shares with us how he is contributing to an international effort called PAWS, which aims to estimate the global snow leopard population.
Munib’s research on disease transmission between livestock and wildlife highlights the importance of linking snow leopard conservation with improving livestock health. To learn more about Munib’s work, check out this article: https://www.snowleopard.org/herding-and-health-in-the-high-himalayas/
Part IV: Shafiq
Shafiq, Regional Programme Manager at Snow Leopard Foundation (our partner organization in Pakistan), sends us an update on his team’s work to compile data for the Livestock Vaccination Program. This community-based conservation program aims to reduce the number of livestock lost to disease. By participating in this initiative, herders gain healthier and more resilient herds. Herders are then better able to tolerate occasional predation by snow leopards and wolves.
To learn more about snow leopard conservation in Pakistan, please visit www.snowleopard.org/our-work/where-we-work/pakistan/
Part V: Dorjay
Throughout the snow leopard range, our teams monitor snow leopard and prey populations with research cameras and ungulate surveys. They hike up steep slopes and scramble down rocky crevices to find the perfect spots to set up their cameras. Then they make the same trip again a few months later to collect the photos and look for hidden gems. Dorjay, Field Staff at Nature Conservation Foundation, our partner organization in India, is normally in the field conducting wildlife surveys and working alongside herder communities. He shares with us how not being able to reach the field during this time is difficult, but expresses how thankful he is to spend time at home learning from his family members.
While things have been challenging, the spirit of teamwork is still alive and well among Nature Conservation Foundation staff, Snow Leopard Trust staff, and the communities we work with. We really appreciate all of the teamwork and care we have felt from our supporters during this time as well. We hope you continue to stay safe.
Part VI: Örjan
Örjan has been dubbed the ‘Snow Leopard Whisperer’ by our team, because he can think like the cats and sometimes even act like them. Over the last 13 years, Senior Scientist Dr. Örjan Johansson has spent over 1,300 days in Tost, Mongolia studying snow leopards. Under normal circumstances, he would be in Mongolia conducting research on snow leopards and ibex as part of our long-term ecological study. Fortunately, Örjan is still able to collect and analyze data from his home in Sweden. Here he shares with us a few insights into snow leopard behavior.
Part VII: Nadia
Reaching out to children across snow leopard landscapes is one of the most important ways to secure a safer future for snow leopards. Nadia Mijiddorj, our Conservation and Education Manager in Mongolia who has run eco-camps successfully for many years, sends us an update from home. Nadia is working on evaluating the eco-camp program’s previous successes and adapting the program to keep children engaged and curious about the natural world around their home.
Nadia illustrates the impact eco-camps have on future conservationists in a previous article. Not only does Nadia aim to inspire young minds, she is also striving to complete her PhD on understanding the impacts of climate change on rangelands and herding communities in the Tost Mountains of Mongolia. Education is a fundamental part of Nadia’s life and is at the core of our mission.
Part VIII: Deepshikha
As Deepshikha spends her work days at home, she is busy advocating for snow leopard conservation. Snow leopards occasionally attack and kill livestock—the main livelihood of many families living in snow leopard habitat. Deepshika is working with her team in India to create a network of local conservation leaders across Himachal Pradesh who aim to support herding communities during such depredation events. Through the network, we hope to promote the conservation of snow leopards and support local communities across even larger landscapes.