Saving Snow Leopards – SOS


The Snow Leopard – an Endangered Species – photo by Craig Kasnoff

SOS – Save Our Species (SOS), has funded a series of community-based programs to help save the endangered snow leopards in Pakistan, according to according to Jean-Christophe Vié, Deputy Director of IUCN’s Global Species Programme and Director of SOS.  “With the support from SOS, the project plans to pilot programs in 10 villages across five key Central Karakoram Conservation Complex CKCC valleys in Pakistan,” says Vié. “Overall, it is hoped the project will not only reduce poaching and retribution killing of snow leopards, but help local herders improve herding and animal husbandry practices and increase their economic opportunities in environmentally sustainable ways.”

The total wild population of the snow leopard is estimated at between 4,080 to 6,590 individuals. In 1972, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) placed the snow leopard on its Red List of Threatened Species as globally “Endangered”. The same threat category was applied in an IUCN assessment conducted in 2008. It is estimated there are 200-420 wild snow leopards in Pakistan.

Vié would like to make sure those numbers do not decline any further.

“With support from SOS, the Snow Leopard Trust, and its NGO partner in Pakistan the Snow Leopard Foundation, will initiate community-focused conservation programs to curb poaching and retribution killing of snow leopards in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan Province,” says Vié. “In particular, the project will target villages within Central Karakoram Conservation Complex (CKCC), and areas that includes Central Karakorum National Park (CNKP) and adjoining valleys. These areas are thought to have the highest concentrations of snow leopards in Pakistan.”

Vié says to address the issues facing snow leopards, the project team will work with communities to start economic development programs linked to conservation. He says programs such as a Livestock Insurance Program and a Livestock Vaccination Program have been proven to help ameliorate tensions between herders and snow leopards.

“Through the Livestock Insurance Program, households can insure livestock and receive compensation for animals lost to such predator species,” says Vié. “The Livestock Vaccination Program reduces the number of livestock lost to disease so herders can more readily tolerate livestock losses to predation. The effectiveness of these programs will be augmented with educational outreach activities aimed at building greater awareness and appreciation for snow leopards.”

Go here to learn more about the SOS snow leopard conservation project, scheduled to continue through December 2014.

Endangered Earth Journal is Produced by Endangered Species Journalist Craig Kasnoff to Promote the Plight of Endangered Species

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