Celebrating 20 years of the Snow Leopard Network- Webinar Recording now available

It all started back in 2002 – twenty years ago. The Snow Leopard Survival Summit brought together over 60 experts from 17 countries to develop what was to become the Snow Leopard Survival Strategy. From that meeting the Snow Leopard Network was founded with a Steering Committee of eight elected members. Many of the 2002 Summit participants, are still working in snow leopard conservation today. Now, with over 500 members and 28 organisations, the Snow Leopard Network provides a platform for an increasing number of practitioners across Asia and the world around snow leopard conservation.

Join us on September 13th, 2022, where we will take the opportunity to look back and highlight some key moments and achievements of the Network. We are bringing together 5 distinguished Steering Committee members from different periods of time to share experiences and reflections through photographic images and their accounts. We will also use this opportunity to look to the future of the Network.   

Celebrating 20 years of the Snow Leopard Network

It all started back in 2002 – twenty years ago. The Snow Leopard Survival Summit brought together over 60 experts from 17 countries to develop what was to become the Snow Leopard Survival Strategy. From that meeting the Snow Leopard Network was founded with a Steering Committee of eight elected members. Many of the 2002 Summit participants, are still working in snow leopard conservation today. Now, with over 500 members and 28 organisations, the Snow Leopard Network provides a platform for an increasing number of practitioners across Asia and the world around snow leopard conservation.

Join us on September 13th, 2022, where we will take the opportunity to look back and highlight some key moments and achievements of the Network. We are bringing together 5 distinguished Steering Committee members from different periods of time to share experiences and reflections through photographic images and their accounts. We will also use this opportunity to look to the future of the Network.   

The format of the Celebratory Session will include a rolling photo-montage of SLN’s timeline by our 5 previous Steering Committee members. Each will span a different moment and perspective on the evolution of snow leopard conservation as a science and discipline. Tom McCarthy will open the timeline with an account of why SLN came into being. Yash Veer Bhatnagar, Muhammad Ali Nawaz, Sibylle Noras will take the story up to 2019 noting changes in conservation thinking over this time. Lingyun Xiao will take us to the present day and take stock.  This travel in time will be followed by a round table discussion exploring what have been the critical factors at play in snow leopard conservation, how these have changed, and may change in the future.

We also warmly welcome other SLN members who have taken part over time – either through the Grants Program (past recipients), as SC chairs and members, or in other capacities – who would like to join the discussion and share their insights.

Join us in celebrating the history of snow leopard conservation over the last 20 years!

Date/Time

Tuesday, September 13th, 2022, at 11:00am Bishkek time

Location

 ZOOM, to join this talk, REGISTER HERE

 Please note

  • If you have never used Zoom before, we recommend that you try the link 10 minutes before the start of the lecture.
  • Please feel free to write questions in the comment area and there will be time for questions/discussion at the end of the talk.
  • Please note that the session will be recorded and later featured on the SLN website. If you have concerns about this please let us know before the session.

 

 

‘With Snow Leopards’ Small Grant Call for Proposals

The Snow Leopard Network is pleased to announce a new Snow Leopard Grant Program offered by Tencent Foundation and Shan Shui Conservation Center, and supported by partners (the Amity Foundation, HUATAI Foundation and Peking University Center for Nature and Society). 

Launched for the first time in 2022, the ‘With Snow Leopards’ Small Grant (SLSG) aims to provide financial support and promote snow leopard research and conservation across China and the snow leopard range.

This year, the SLSG will support projects outside China in 3 specific themes:

        • Snow leopard research and conservation knowledge/ technology sharing) (Theme A)
        • Snow leopard conservation awareness raising (Theme B)
        • Snow leopard conservation Research focus (Theme C)
      1.  

Selected projects will be awarded amounts ranging between CNY50,000-CNY100,000 (~USD7,500-USD15,000).

 

Call for proposals starts from now to August 21st.  Read the full ‘Call for proposals’ for more detailed information. 

 

More information can be found through the following website: http://en.shanshui.org/information/2357/ 

Please note that this call for proposals focusses on countries outside China. A separate procedure is in place for applicants in China. Please contact Shan Shui Conservation Center (contact@shanshui.org) for further information.

New Session added to the SLN Summer Exchange!

We are thrilled to announce an additional Session to the SLN Summer Exchange.

Week 3: Participatory methods/right-based approaches to research and conservation

June 30th Thursday 16:00 Bishkek time

Significant focus has been placed on community-based conservation in recent decades. However, much purported community-based conservation research and practice continues to be top-down, where local people are seen as beneficiaries and stakeholders, but not right-holders. In this workshop, using case studies, we will explore efforts to make conservation research and practice more equitable, ethical and horizontal. We will discuss the philosophy, practice and challenges of conducting rights-based and truly collaborative conservation. 

Dr. Sahil Nijhawan is an interdisciplinary conservation anthropologist who has worked on human-wildlife relations across Latin America, Southern Africa and India. For the past decade, he has worked alongside the indigenous Idu Mishmi people of Arunachal Pradesh (India) – a journey that began with his doctoral research on socio-cultural, ecological and political relations between the Idu Mishmi and tigers. He is now part of local teams in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland working on a range of locally-led initiatives towards rights-based bio-cultural conservation and research. 

Sign up here: APPLICATIONS CLOSED

SLN Summer Exchange 2022

The Snow Leopard Network (SLN) is launching its first mini Summer online research and conservation training course. It will consist of a series of mini-modules, each for 2 hours, in which participants can build their skills and knowledge on a range of critical snow leopard related conservation tools.

SLN is delighted to announce the line-up for the 2022 SLN Summer Exchange! This year’s mini-module themes were chosen based on feedback from SLN members. Our Resource Team are individual and organizational members from the Snow Leopard Network, drawing on their extensive knowledge and experience. We are very appreciative of our Resource Team finding time to join us in this effort and we look forward to members taking advantage of this exceptional opportunity. 

Please do share the information with anyone interested as these sessions are open to ALL, new or current SLN members and free.

Week 1: Mountain Ungulates

June 23rd Thursday 16:00 Bishkek time

Asia’s mountain ungulates play an important role in maintaining ecosystems by influencing vegetation structure and nutrient cycling. There is a need for more information about the population status of these ungulates, which carries special significance in the protection of the snow leopard across its range. This session will explore a range of mountain ungulate monitoring and conservation approaches. Dr. Munib Khanyari will facilitate the session. He works with the Nature Conservation Foundation as a Program Manager. He works primarily across the Trans-Himalayan region of India, aiming to build positive human-nature relationships.

Week 2: Climate Change 

June 27th Monday 16:00 Bishkek time

Participatory climate risk assessment for integrating climate change considerations into development and conservation efforts. Climate risk assessments allow to understand climate risk and vulnerabilities, and can support in identifying and selecting adaptation strategies aligned with development goals and conservation efforts. The meaningful inclusion of the communities in the process is necessary in order to obtain valuable information, raise awareness and ensure adaptation actions that are relevant to the local contexts. In this module these issues and more will be discussed. Participants will be introduced to basic climate change related concepts, and exposed – through an interactive exercise – to a method for participatory climate risk assessment based on the ‘Climate impact Chains’ analytical approach. The module will draw on the example of participatory climate risk assessments in Kyrgyzstan showing how these integrated considerations on human-wildlife conflict with focus on snow leopards. Dr. Eirini Skrimizea, KU Leuven and Eurac Research will facilitate the session. Eirini Skrimizea is a postdoctoral researcher with a background in planning and sustainability research. She has expertise on governance of socio-ecological development and the social aspects of climate change in the Global North and South.

Week 3: Participatory methods/right-based approaches to research and conservation

June 30th Thursday 16:00 Bishkek time

Significant focus has been placed on community-based conservation in recent decades. However, much purported community-based conservation research and practice continues to be top-down, where local people are seen as beneficiaries and stakeholders, but not right-holders. In this workshop, using case studies, we will explore efforts to make conservation research and practice more equitable, ethical and horizontal. We will discuss the philosophy, practice and challenges of conducting rights-based and truly collaborative conservation. Dr. Sahil Nijhawan is an interdisciplinary conservation anthropologist who has worked on human-wildlife relations across Latin America, Southern Africa and India. For the past decade, he has worked alongside the indigenous Idu Mishmi people of Arunachal Pradesh (India) – a journey that began with his doctoral research on socio-cultural, ecological and political relations between the Idu Mishmi and tigers. He is now part of local teams in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland working on a range of locally-led initiatives towards rights-based bio-cultural conservation and research. 

Week 4: Community Conservation 

July 4th Monday 16:00 Bishkek time

Engaging and partnering with such local communities is critical to the success of conservation efforts. The PARTNERS principles offer a framework to consciously and effectively engage communities. This approach of eight broad principles can offer support to not only conservationists but anyone who is engaging with communities. In this session, we will explore these principles briefly and understand their working through case-studies. Ajay Bijoor and Deepshikha Sharma will facilitate the Session. Ajay has been working with local communities and government agencies to plan and implement conservation action in the high-elevation landscapes of India for the past 7 years. He has also been exploring the intersection of conservation with local knowledge systems, resource management, and local and global economy. Deepshikha has been facilitating community led conservation in snow leopard habitat in Himachal Pradesh & Ladakh. She is working towards raising awareness and reducing losses faced by local communities due to wildlife. She is also working towards bringing local women to the forefront of conservation in the landscape.

 Week 5: Identify Carnivore Signs 

July 11th Monday 16:00 Bishkek time

Carnivores leave behind signs- such as tracks, droppings, sprays and carcasses. They also can be heard- making unique sounds. The team will discuss how researchers can distinguish between the unique signs of felids (snow leopards, lynx etc.) and canids (wolves, feral dogs, red foxes). They will share strategies and potential pitfalls to look out for. Dr. Orjan Johansson & Kubanych Jumabay (Kuban) will lead the session. Orjan is a Senior Scientist for the Snow Leopard Trust and has supported the Long Term Ecological Program in Mongolia for over a decade. Kuban is the Director of the Snow Leopard Foundation Kyrgyzstan. 

Week 6: Camera traps in the field 

July 18th Monday 16:00 Bishkek time

Camera traps are an important tool for snow leopard research and conservation. In this session we will share tips on best practices for setting up camera traps in the mountains for specific purposes and optimal device settings. The team will discuss camera trap types, how to effectively choose locations, strategies to improve battery life, lighting and safety of the equipment. The team will also discuss how one can improve the quality of captures for the identification of snow leopard individuals. In this interactive workshop, participants will be welcome to share their ideas, experiences and ask specific questions. Dr. Koustubh Sharma & Purevjav Lkhagvajav (Pujii) will lead this session. Koustubh is the Assistant Director of Conservation Policy and Partnerships with the Snow Leopard Trust and the International Coordinator with the GSLEP Program. He is closely involved with the implementation of the Population Assessment of the World’s Snow Leopard (PAWS). Pujii is the Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation Mongolia’s Research and Monitoring Manager. She works closely with rangers across Mongolia, and has been supporting systematic camera trapping across thousands of square kilometers for more than a decade.

How to sign up?

Drivers of snow leopard poaching and illegal trade in Pakistan

 

Please join us in welcoming our guest speaker Fathul Bari from the University of Chitral, who shares updates on this prominent threat to snow leopards in Pakistan. This talk is followed by a discussion where we explore ideas to combat this omnipresent threat to snow leopards in greater detail, drawing upon our guests experiences and knowledge from across the world. We will have Dr. Koustubh Sharma share recent developments from GSLEP that curates a collaborative database on poaching and illegal wildlife trade in snow leopards.

Poaching and trade of snow leopards is poorly documented in Pakistan. Pakistan is however ranked for greater poaching incidents as compared to its share in the global snow leopard range. The country is also ranked among the top five countries where 90% of snow leopard poaching occurs, although seizure records for the country are low. During this talk we will discuss the dynamics and drivers of snow leopard poaching and trade from Pakistan.

 

Women and Voices from Periphery

The high Himalayan landscape in Himachal Pradesh is fascinating geography with unique biodiversity. The communities share a rich understanding of living harmoniously with nature and coexisting with wildlife around them. Deepshikha & Chemi reflect upon how women from these landscapes navigate conservation spaces, the joys, and struggles of bringing them to the forefront, and their experiences of building conservation champions and outreach networks.

From climate to carnivores: the transitions of a change

Major climatic changes have occurred on a number of occasions, with over 50 such changes taking place in the Pleistocene epoch alone. Each time climate change events have required ecological and behavioural adaptations to surviving plant and animal species, obliging them to seek refuge in suitable areas or cope with habitat modifications and alterations of local plant/animal communities. This can potentially lead to inter-species competition. Mountains are strongly seasonal habitats, which require special adaptations for wildlife species living on them.

Population dynamics of mountain ungulates are strongly influenced by the availability of rich food resources to sustain lactation and weaning during summer seasons. In turn, well fed juveniles will survive winter rigours more easily. In the case of an increase of temperature – such as in the current ongoing climatic change – plant phenology and nutritional quality will be affected. Predictions have been made on what could happen to populations of mountain ungulates based on how climate change could alter the distribution pattern and quality of high elevation vegetation. In this talk we will explore a case study using the “clover community-Apennine chamois Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata” to explore these relationships. All scenarios suggest a decline of the Apennine chamois in the next 50 years in its historical core range- from about 85% to 99% near-extinction. It is argued that the negative consequences of climate changes presently occurring at lower elevations will shift to higher ones in the future. These effects will vary with the species-specific ecological and behavioural flexibility of mountain herbivores, as well as with availability of climate refugia.

If climatic conditions do continue to change, these are likely to elicit a variation of resource availability for herbivores, and in turn for carnivores. A potential for exacerbation of interspecific competition could follow. Species distribution and abundance will be affected calling for farsighted measures of adaptive management and conservation.

Find out more about our speaker here

Snow Leopard Training Grant – Call for Proposals

Since 2020 the Snow Leopard Network has made a special effort to build and share capacities related to snow leopard research and conservation. The 2020 – 2021 SLN Training Initiative covered 15 modules with 372 participants joining the online sessions. This was possible thanks to the support of our partners who provided resources and leadership on critical snow leopard related conservation themes and tools. 

2022 offers the opportunity to support teams working across the snow leopard range in leading additional training modules. We are pleased to announce the 2022 Call for Proposals for the Snow Leopard Training Grant which is designed to further strengthen snow leopard conservation and research, especially at the grassroots level. This is made possible through the generous support of the Pangje Foundation, an SLN member organization dedicated to protecting snow leopards and helping local communities.

The specific goal of the 2022 Training Grant centres around building capacities in snow leopard research and conservation among grassroot stakeholders. The scope of the capacity projects to be funded is broad and includes trainings/workshops in support of community conservation, protected area management (supporting local rangers and protected area staff etc.), conservation education, women conservation leadership training and wildlife population monitoring (snow leopard & prey). Other training and capacity building themes related to snow leopard conservation at the grassroots level will also be considered. Please note that the Training Grant available in 2022 is not designed for funding wider research or conservation projects in themselves but is specific to supporting Training or Workshop events.

Proposal Guidelines

Eligibility: The Training Grant is open to all SLN members and researchers/practitioners/organizations working to support snow leopard conservation. One proposal per applicant, team or organization will be considered. Unfortunately, current regulations do not allow this funding to be available for activities in the People’s Republic of China. 

Grant size: Awards will range from $1000 to $1500. All award funds should plan to be used in 2022. Project proposals should aim to use these relatively modest amounts as strategically as possible. Other funding sources can be included in the budget to increase the overall project funding size.

Selection criteria: Proposals will be judged on a competitive basis. Applications will be evaluated by SLN’s Grant Review Panel, and judged on:

                  • Relevance to snow leopard conservation at the grassroots level
                  • Training methodology/philosophy
                  • Scientific and/or conservation rigor of the proposal
                  • Collaboration with local partners

Proposal Submission: Proposals (written in English) must be submitted electronically as a single pdf file to Rakhee Karumbaya, SLN’s Program Coordinator (rakhee@snowleopardnetwork.org). Proposals will be considered if received before 25th February, 2022 (18:00 Bishkek time). Applications that do not use the forms attached below will not be considered. The pdf file should include: 

                  • an Application form completed (max. 3 pages, according to the attached form). Download the Application form here.
                  • a CV of the project team leader/principal applicant (max. 2 pages)

Reporting: A final report on the awarded projects (process and results) is due by December 15th, 2022. Please submit your final report as a Word document.  Download the report outline here.

Time Schedule

25 February 2022: All Proposals submitted by email. Kindly note that we will not be able to consider late proposals.

End of March 2022: Proposals selected for funding by the SLN Grant Review Panel will be announced.

Mid April 2022: Funds available for disbursement.

Mid April – 1 December 2022: Projects take place as agreed in proposals. 

15 December 2022: Grantees submit final report.

Women & Community Conservation

Across the range, snow leopards and people share space. Engaging with local communities is essential for snow leopard conservation. Community based programmes tend to engage with men largely due to social norms and existing power structures. This often results in excluding women, who are important stakeholders and form almost 50% of the adult population, from conservation action and decision making.

In this webinar, we explore how to better engage women in conservation programs across the snow leopard landscape. We hear examples from existing programs that specifically target women and discuss how conservation programs can themselves shift social norms around gender equality (positively or negatively). We also examine the key role of policy in transforming community based programs through incorporating gender sensitive approaches.  

We will be hearing from conservationists across the snow leopard range – Bayara Agvantsaaren, Dr. LuZhi and Rashmi Singh – who are working at different levels to engage women in snow leopard conservation. Each of them will highlight a particular aspect of their work that highlights the opportunities and challenges in promoting women’s role in community based conservation. Dr. Charudutt Mishra, the Executive Director of the Snow Leopard Trust, will facilitate the panel discussion. Charu has been a pioneer in community based conservation and brings a special perspective around how to make a difference at the ground level.

This webinar is Part 1 of a Webinar Series focussing on the role of women in snow leopard conservation and science (watch the Part 2 recording which took place in September 2021).