||Phoo village in the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA) in Nepal is located at 4,052 m als physically
in the central north of the country. Livestock keeping is the main activity of the people for making a
living amidst a conflict with snow leopard (Uncia uncia). Each year snow leopard kills a number of
livestock resulting significant economic losses for the poor people living in this remote area. Unless
the people – snow leopard conflict is well understood and appropriate conflict management activities
are implemented, the long run co-existence between people and snow leopard – especially the
existence of snow leopard in this part of the world -will be in question. This has now become an
utmost important as the aspiration of the people for economic development has risen significantly and
the area has been opened to tourism since spring 2002. In addition to this, the globalisation process has
directly and indirectly affected the traditional resource management practices and co-existence
strategies of many traditional societies including Phoo.
The livestock depredation for 3 years (2001 – 2004) by snow leopard was studied by interviewing the
herders to understand the responsible and specific bio-physical and socio-economic factors. The study
revealed that goats are most depredated species followed by sheep. Winter months (January – April)
and winter pastures are most vulnerable to snow leopard predation. Presence of bushes, forest and
boulders make good hides for snow leopard resulting into high depredation. The study also showed
that a lax animal guarding system was significantly responsible for high livestock depredation by snow
The study showed that improvement in livestock guarding system should be adopted as the most
important activity. However despite the importance of livestock in the economy of Phoo it is still not
well understood why the herders neglect for proper livestock guarding. This requires further study.
Proper guarding system is required especially in winter season in winter pastures. It is also suggested
that there should be changes in the composition of livestock species by promoting more yaks and
discouraging or minimising goats. Yaks and large animals are less depredated and small animals like
goats and sheep are highly depredated by snow leopard. A trend was also observed in Phoo village
where there is an increase in the number of yaks and a decrease in the number of goats over last few
years. This could be a management response of the herders to livestock depredation. Other protective
measures of the livestock at the corrals have also been recommended including promotion of guard
dogs and other measures.
Since the area is opened for tourism, it is suggested that the tourism opportunity for the economic
development of the area should be grasped so that the heavy dependence on livestock raising would be
minimised. This will help minimise the number of human – snow leopard conflicts.