The Snow Leopard Conservancy. (2002). A Learning Tour of the CBN (Corbett, Nainital and Binsar) Eco-tourism Initiative Sites by Villagers from Hemis National Park and the Surrounding Area (18-28th November 2002) (R. Wangchuk, & J. Dadul, Eds.) (Vol. SLC Field Document Series No 5). Leh, Ladakh, India.
Abstract: Ladakh lies between the Great Himalayas and the formidable Karakoram mountains.
Its unique landscape and rich cultural heritage have been a great attraction to tourists all over
the world. Apart from its uniqueness it has a rich Trans-Himalayan bio-diversity and is home
to the rare and elusive snow leopard. It opened to tourism in 1974 with a handful of tourists
and has gone up to the present number of about 18,000 visitors annually. Ecotourism started in Ladakh in mid 80s in the form of conservation of traditional
architecture when local communities realized the importance of their rich culture and
traditions being valued by the visiting tourists. However, while tourism became a major
source of income to people in Leh, most of the benefits stayed with outside (Delhi) based
travel agents thus leaving out the rural masses. During the last three years Snow Leopard Conservancy and The Mountain Institute have been
initiating ecotourism activities with local communities in the Hemis National Park as an
alternate livelihood and an indirect way to compensate losses of livestock from predatory
animals. However, local people while venturing into such new initiatives have tended to be
like blind men that are being led by NGO's so that they do not stumble along their paths.