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Monks, sacred landscapes and snow leopards on Tibetan Plateau

A video interview in the freezing snow leopard landscape of Sangjiangyuan Nature Reserve on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai province, China. Researcher Liu Yanlin from Shan Shui (a conservation organisation at Peking University) and Stuart Pimm, President of Saving Species discuss ways to protect the snow leopard in this part of their habitat.

Shan Shui is working with local people in the Sangjiangyuan Nature Reserve which is one of the largest protected areas in the world. The focus of Shan Shui’s work is to find ways to protect the snow leopard and other wildlife in this very remote high altitude landscape, where herders and wildlife can often come into conflict. The herders have yaks and other domestic livestock which can be attractive to hungry snow leopards in search of a meal. Ideally the snow leopards should prey on wild blue sheep of which there are plenty in this region.

Liu Yanlin and Shan Shui found through recent research that Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in this region also have an important role to play in protecting snow leopards.

The nearby mountains are considered sacred by the local people and monks and Liu Yanlin and the Shan Shui Director, Professor Lu Zhi believe these monasteries may be “much more effective in protecting this area than are reserves because (the protection) is based on people’s morals and principles. Shan Shui is committed to working to combined religion and science to solve the current and coming threats to this region.”
Full story National Geographic.

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