October 6th, 13th & 20th, 2021
18:00-20:00 Bishkek time
Encounters with snow leopards can take many forms. They can range from rare sightings of one or more snow leopards, coming across injured snow leopards or instances or coming across cubs that may appear abandoned. It can also involve snow leopards killing livestocks in pastures and corrals. Although snow leopards are mostly elusive, these encounters do occur across the snow leopard range and at times can be very stressful for both the people and snow leopards involved. Responses can result in the loss of life or freedom for the snow leopard. Appropriate responses that minimize harm and promote the long term coexistence of people and snow leopards still need to be more widely known, shared and put into practice.
The aim of this course is to provide hands-on guidance to help plan ahead for such situations and help resolve potential conflict situations without posing avoidable risk to humans or animals. This module brings together recent experiences from across the range and from multiple organisations to share good practices and discuss pros and cons of different ways of responding to such encounters, including approaches to minimising livestock depredation.
The Bishkek Declaration 2017, endorsed by the 12 snow leopard range countries, recognises that threats to snow leopards are on the rise and that there is a need to develop policies and build capacity at multiple levels. This initiative, focussing on sharing experiences and building capacity for managing snow leopards in unusual or conflict situations, hopes to contribute toward this goal. This module is being organised in coordination with thanks to the support of the GSLEP Program Secretariat. We also thank the Snow Leopard Conservancy, Snow Leopard Trust, Snow Leopard Foundation Pakistan, Nature Conservation Foundation for contributing to this module.
About the course
Session 1: Recommendations on how to manage unusual snow leopard encounters
In 2020 the Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Program (GSLEP) developed a policy brief on managing snow leopards in unusual or conflict situations. The guidelines in the policy brief are based on the most up-to-date information and scientific evidence. During this session the authors will outline the recommendations for how to manage snow leopards killing livestock in the pastures, killing livestock in corrals and when an injured snow leopard or cubs are encountered. The authors will also share information on how to handle situations where snow leopards have been caught by villagers after attacking livestock as well as possible means to handle snow leopards that repeatedly attack the same corral.
Session 2: Strategies for minimising snow leopard depredation
The Snow Leopard Conservancy and Snow Leopard Trust, in collaboration with other organisations and governments have developed a number of livestock depredation mitigation tools. During this session the team will share experiences in applying these tools and working with communities, with the goal of addressing root causes leading to depredation and measures that maximise community acceptance. We will also discuss approaches for cost-sharing and ongoing adaptive monitoring and management. The Session will be an opportunity to discuss a range of different techniques and engagement mechanisms and to learn from participants on what tools are being used in their areas and can be improved.
Session 3: Shared practices from across the snow leopard range
A series of case studies from India, Mongolia, Tajikistan and Pakistan gives unique insights on how encounters take place and vary. While the principles of responding to encounters are set out, understanding local context is vital for tailoring any effective responses. This includes looking at the different stakeholders involved, their interests and histories as well as local beliefs and policies in place. This session will showcase how responses have often had to deal with very sensitive issues within an often highly political setting. The session emphasises exchange of experiences and views with the intention of calibrating and grounding the previous session discussions.
Meet the Resource Team
Ali Nawaz PhD has 20 years of field research experience, spanning over diverse geographical regions in Pakistan, and has 50 scientific articles and over 30 management reports to his credit. His primary focus is on understanding ecology, co-existence, and conservation issues of the carnivore community in northern Pakistan. Dr Nawaz has worked intensively with the mountainous communities in alleviating human-carnivore conflicts and promoting acceptance of large carnivores.
Ajay Bijoor supports conservation efforts in the regions of Ladakh and Spiti valley in India. Over the last eight years, he has worked on setting up, running and monitoring community-conservation efforts in these regions. This effort aims at trying to create conditions conducive for conservation. More recently he has also been facilitating the process of building capacity for community-based conservation in snow leopard range countries.
Orjan Johansson PhD is a member of SLN’s Steering Committee. He is a senior conservation scientist at the Snow Leopard Trust and has worked with snow leopards since 2008. He is based at Grimso wildlife research station in Sweden and has previously worked with several other large carnivores including mountain lions, wolves, lynx and wolverines. His research evolves mainly around snow leopard ecology and behaviour. Orjan devotes a lot of his time to a snow leopard study in Tost Mountains, Mongolia.
Ranjini Murali PhD has over ten years of experience working in snow leopard landscapes. Her PhD focused on understanding how local communities use and value ecosystem services from these landscapes. She is currently a conservation scientist at the Snow Leopard Trust and is an international staff on the GSLEP secretariat. As a part of her role she helps coordinate the effort and manage the database on unusual encounters for GSLEP.
Shafqat Hussain, PhD Founder of Project Snow Leopard, now part of the Baltistan Wildlife Conservation Development Organization (BWCDO) of which he is the Board Chair. Shafqat is a professor of anthropology at Trinity College, Hartford, CT. He is a Rolex Award for Enterprise laureate, a recipient of the United Nations Equator Prize and was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. In December of 2019 he published the book The Snow Leopard and the Goat: Politics of Conservation in the Western Himalayas.
Deepshikha Sharma is a conservation practitioner with the Nature Conservation Foundation, India. For the past 2 years, she has been working alongside local communities to conserve snow leopard habitat. She is building volunteer networks in the landscape to create awareness and strengthen conservation action.
Rodney Jackson PhD is a renowned snow leopard researcher and conservationist who led the first radio-collaring study of snow leopards in western Nepal in 1981-1985 that made it to the cover story of the June 1986 National Geographic Magazine. He has published widely, with his accomplishments including leading / co-authoring all IUCN Red Data List evaluations completed to date. Rodney’s special interests rest with engaging and empowering local communities to address conservation issues, notably livestock depredation and related human-wildlife conflict. He pioneered initiatives at corral predator-proofing, community-based tourism (Himalayan Homestays), camera trapping, non-invasive scat genetics (with Dr. Jan Janecka and associates) and use of drones for censusing prey species. A Founding Member and first Conservation Director of the International Snow Leopard Trust, in 2000, Rodney co-founded the Snow Leopard Conservancy (SLC), followed by the SLC-India Trust (now an independent NGO). He received a Masters degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1970, and his PhD from the University of London in 1996. A Rolex Award for Enterprise Laureate, Rodney is widely recognized internationally and within snow leopard range countries for his 40 year + commitment to furthering conservation of this iconic species. (www.SnowLeopardConservancy.org).
Koustubh Sharma PhD has been involved in active research and conservation since 2001. He has been working with the Snow Leopard Trust since 2007, and currently serves as the Assistant Director of Conservation Policy and Partnerships. Since 2014, he is deputed as the International Coordinator of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystems Protection Program (GSLEP) at its secretariat in Bishkek. At the GSLEP Program, Koustubh works with a small team with support from international organizations to coordinate this unique alliance that brings together governments of the 12 snow leopard range countries, Non-Government Organizations and Conservationists. At the Snow Leopard Trust, he assists in implementing research, conservation, training and building collaborations across several countries.
- Wednesdays October 6th, 13th, 20th 2021: 18:00-20:00 Bishkek time
- 2 hour online Zoom Seminars take place Wednesday of the month, October 2021
- Additional group work, assignments or readings are likely to be organised by the trainers
- Please note we expect all participants to attend the complete set of Wednesday Seminars as they are interconnected and build on each other
- Details of each specific Seminar topic will be shared approximately 5 days beforehand; including any expected preparations by participants.
- Please note that all sessions are recorded and then made available online through the SLN youtube channel. By participating in these online sessions you automatically agree to authorise recording of audio and visual content presented during the live event and consent to subsequent use of the recording in the public domain by SLN. If you have any concerns please contact us.
Deadline for Applications
- September 29th, 2021. Please note places are limited so please do
not delay in applying.
- Applications closed- Contact Rakhee if you are interested to attend.