The Launch of India’s Project Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard Network
10-11 July 2006
The fragile high-altitude mountain ecosystems of northern
A very successful national conference took place on 10-11 July with the purpose of launching Project Snow Leopard (PSL), a conservation initiative modeled after Project Tiger and Project Elephant with the purpose of preserving the ecosystem to which snow leopards belong through cooperating with local residents, governments, scientists, and NGOs. The conference was organized by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India (MoEF) and the Department of Wildlife Protection,
The workshop came as a culmination to a two-year series of state-level conferences organized by NCF and ISLT in cooperation with the governments of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir with the purpose of identifying regions that need to be included in PSL. This series of conferences resulted in a concept paper calling for a scientifically sound and socially responsible high altitude wildlife conservation strategy involving the State and Central Governments, representatives of the local communities, and conservation and development NGOs.
The workshop facilitated the exchange of information between the forest departments of the five states with high-altitude ecosystems and the MoEF, and a set of thirteen recommendations decided upon so as to guide the drafting and implementation of a PSL document.
Recommendations of the National Workshop on Project Snow Leopard:
1. The high altitudes of
2. PSL will promote wildlife conservation through a participatory process by fully involving the local communities in conservation efforts, and seeking their active participation in conservation through appropriate incentives.
3. As a significant proportion of Himalayan high altitude wildlife occurs outside Protected Areas, PSL will follow a landscape level approach that gives due importance to conservation both within and outside Protected Areas.
4. PSL will strengthen and enhance the capacity of state forest and wildlife departments in effectively managing high altitude wildlife through provisioning of manpower, resources, incentives, and capacity building.
5. PSL will be formulated in line with the National Wildlife Action Plan (2001-2016), and will incorporate the salient features articulated in the state-level PSL workshops and the Snow Leopard Survival Strategy, and in addition, draw lessons from the experiences of other flagship species programmes such as the Project Tiger and Project Elephant.
6. PSL will support research on wildlife and human dimensions throughout the high altitude areas of the snow leopard range states of
7. PSL will encourage an adaptive management framework which will provide for constant monitoring of wildlife populations and human socio-economy, and for periodic course-corrections in management actions.
8. As the high altitudes also represent a vast rangeland system, PSL will assist the states in the development of grazing policies and management practices that will aim to harmonize the objectives of pastoral interests with those of wildlife conservation.
9. PSL will promote research-based species recovery programmes.
10. PSL will promote community-based management programmes for resolving human-wildlife conflicts.
11. PSL will promote conservation education and awareness initiatives.
12. Given that most of
13. The MoEF will constitute a committee comprising of the participating states and other key stakeholders for the drafting of the PSL strategy and action plan.