The international conference on Range-wide Conservation Planning for Snow Leopards held in
Leading conservationists and researchers, as well as government officials from 11 of 12 snow leopard range countries, were among the more than 100 conference attendees.
Founder and Executive Chairman of Panthera, Tom Kaplan, announced that organization’s commitment to an unprecedented range-wide effort to conserve snow leopards. Panthera’s offer of partnerships and collaboration, backed by substantial resources, caught the attention of the audience. The magnitude of the task ahead was echoed in keynote addresses by Dr. George Schaller (WCS), one of the first people to ever study the elusive snow leopard, and Dr. Urs Breitenmoser, co-Chair of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group, who made it clear that saving the big cats would not be easy and would require substantial effort of all concerned.
Unlike many conferences which showcase the plight of an imperiled species but take few positive steps toward their conservation, the gathering in
Invited speakers then shared expertise on successful conservation methods and best practices in research methods, and country teams reported on the status of snow leopard action plans across the region. The participants were then charged with using the new range maps and targeted conservation units to develop country specific actions that should be undertaken in the next several years if snow leopards are to be saved. Each country’s plan was designed with the following shared vision in mind.
A world where snow leopards and their wild prey thrive in healthy mountain ecosystems across all major ecological settings of their entire range, and where snow leopards are revered as unique ecological, economic, and spiritual assets.
A full report, inclusive of all country-specific actions and the new range map, will soon be available from the co-organizers and will also be found on the Snow Leopard Network website: www.snowleopardnetwork.org