There is a lot of conservation work being done by these wildlife protection groups in the battle to help the snow leopard survive in the wild. The main groups are listed below. Contact them to give your support.
Snow Leopard Trust, Seattle, Washington.
The Trust is the largest and oldest organization working solely to protect the endangered Snow Leopard. It was founded in 1981 by Helen Freeman 1932-2007) who worked as a volunteer with snow leopards at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo. She became fascinated with the cats and was motivated to set up the Trust to protect the snow leopard in the wild and its habitat. The SLT is partnering with communities in snow leopard habitat and developing supportive programs for both the cats and the local communities through science and research. The Trust works to determine key snow leopard habitat, assess wildlife-human conflict levels, and identify potential resources for conservation programs.
The SLT (partnered by Panthera) is currently running a ground breaking 10 year snow leopard research and conservation project in Mongolia, which has radio collared 15 cats and is collecting some of the most significant field data on snow leopards ever collected.
Snow Leopard Conservancy, California. Founded by Dr Rodney Jackson and Darla Hillard who have been working with snow leopards since the early 1980’s . The aim of the Conservancy is “Promoting community-based stewardship of the endangered snow leopard, its prey and habitat.” The SLC trains local teachers, teacher trainers, school children and NGO’s using simple but powerful tools to help understand the impact of losing the snow leopards and the prey in their habitat areas.
Rodney Jackson is the leading snow leopard expert who has been working with the cats for over 35 years. His experience with local communities of herders and villagers in snow leopard habitat informs SLC conservation projects. SLC works with communities and researchers in many countries – China, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan.
You can read the book about their early ground breaking snow leopard tracking and radio collaring work in Nepal. “Vanishing Tracks” by Darla Hillard.
The Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust (SLC-IT) started in 2000 with the Snow Leopard Conservancy US. In 2003 it was formally registered in India as an independent organization.
The SLC-IT is dedicated to promoting innovative community-based stewardship of the endangered snow leopard, its prey and habitat to the benefit of local people and the environment in the trans-Himalayan regions of Ladakh. SLC-IT believes that truly sustainable conservation comes from participation by the entire community. SLC-IT works on the following programs.
Community Conservation Initiatives and Conflict Mitigation in areas where human-snow leopard conflicts are high, and the local communities’ suffer heavy losses of subsistence livestock. SLC-IT develops alternative income activities like predator proofing, community-based ecotourism, livestock insurance, handicrafts and eco-cafes that benefit local communities. These have stopped retaliatory snow leopard killings by local communities when snow leopards kill livestock.
Environmental Education programs instil knowledge and appreciation of natural biodiversity and encourage children to become stewards of wildlife in Ladakh.
Research programs are run by SLC-IT through the use of non-invasive camera trapping monitoring where snow leopards trigger photos as they come close to the camera. The photos help assess the extent to which snow leopard rely upon domestic livestock and help determine number of snow leopards in the area in Ladakh.
For information and to support the work of the SLC-IT visit the website. For people visiting Leh, Ladakh you can go to the office and see the Snow leopard Interpretation Centre at Shangara House, Tukcha Main Road, Leh, Ladakh. You can see videos on snow leopard conservation, meet with the staff and purchase local handicrafts made by the villagers in the community conservation program.
Panthera Corporation is a charity founded in 2006 and is devoted to preserving big cats and their habitat and ecosystems. Panthera’s programs are focused on conservation of the world’s largest, most imperilled cats—tigers, lions, jaguars, cheetah and snow leopards.
Panthera’s Snow Leopard program, led by Dr Tom McCarthy, is studying the snow leopards in Mongolia, as well as surveying new areas where they may possibly live, but haven’t yet been discovered. Panthera also helps governments create National Snow Leopard Action Plans in nine countries with snow leopard habitat.
Other Panthera programs help local livestock herders that share snow leopard habitat by training them in best ways to protect their herds without killing snow leopards. Some of these programs include giving a bonus to Mongolian herding communities that have gone one year without killing a snow leopard. In Pakistan the programs pay for livestock vaccinations in mountain areas where villagers lose many of their livestock to preventable diseases. In return the villagers agree to protecting any snow leopards in their area.
Panthera was founded by American entrepreneur Thomas S. Kaplan who is the executive chairman. One of the world’s foremost snow leopard biologists, Dr George Schaller is Panthera Vice President.
TRAFFIC is the major the wildlife trade monitoring network, working globally to stop trade in wild animals and plants.Based in Cambridge, UK, TRAFFIC actively collects rigorous research and up to date information on illegal trading of animals and plants from its many partners in the field.
They actively monitor and investigate the wildlife trade in many countries and provide information to many wildlife protection groups worldwide as a basis for effective conservation policies and programs. Working as a joint program of WWF (the conservation organisation) and IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature) TRAFFIC now has 25 offices worldwide. The Organisation is sponsored by charitable foundations, private and other donors.
WWF’s snow leopard research and conservation work focuses on rural development, education for sustainable development, and the control of the illegal wildlife trade and mining in the area.
WWF works in a number of snow leopard range countries. In Mongolia, their programs help goat herders become aware of the plight of the snow leopard and encourage the end of the killing of snow leopards in retaliation for killing livestock.
WWF supports mobile anti-poaching activities to limit hunting of both snow leopards and their prey species (e.g., ibex, argali, and marmots). Another key objective for WWF is to eliminate the illegal trade of snow leopard fur, bones and other body parts.
In Pakistan WWF works in the Northern Areas and North-west Frontier Province focusing on existing and proposed parks, reserves and conservation areas. This includes developing programs that encourage herders to protect snow leopards and their major prey species in exchange for economic incentives.
They have far-reaching powers and are equipped with weapons and have the power to arrest suspects and seize live animals, skins, weapons and other evidence. In the last decade they’ve captured 180 poachers and confiscated many snow leopard pelts as well as furs from other endangered animals. There is no doubt this team and the project supported by funding from NABU have made a huge difference in protecting snow leopard numbers in the country.
The Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN) is a UK registered charity offering awards and grants to outstanding nature conservationists around the world. The awards are amongst the most high profile conservation prizes and each year they recognise some of the worlds most passionate conservation leaders. They have supported projects in more than 60 countries since 1994 when Edward Whitley established the awards.
In the early 2000’s the WFN started supporting snow leopard conservation in India, Pakistan and Central Asia. Snow leopard conservationists so far supported by the Whitley awards include Shafqat Hussain, an expert on the snow leopard in Pakistan and Dr Charudutt Mishra from Snow Leopard Network.
Dr Charudutt Mishra (currently Executive Director of the Snow Leopard Network) won the award in 2005 for his efforts in the high altitudes of the Himalayas in Ladakh, India. He worked to stop the decline in wild prey, one of the key threats to the cats in snow leopard habitat. Charu works with local people on conservation and conflict resolution initiatives, and he set up an insurance scheme among communities whose livestock were being preyed on by snow leopards. Villagers are compensated for livestock loss provided they do not kill the snow leopards in retaliation.
Shafqat Hussain’s Project Snow Leopard, located in snow leopard habitat areas of Baltistan in northern Pakistan, combines research into snow leopard behaviour and biology with conservation awareness programs for local communities, where local theatre and radio are used to educate people about the cats. The Project also includes an insurance scheme to reimburse local villagers for snow leopard predation on their domestic livestock. This has resulted in local people valuing the snow leopards rather than seeing them as a threat that had to be dealt with.