Module 11: PARTNERS Monitoring and Evaluation 

About the module

Monitoring and Evaluation is a critical part of community conservation programs. It is necessary to identify and address any implementation challenges. It can also ensure that conservation programs are improved as required in response to changing threats and opportunities at the local level.

This module will focus on introducing participants to participatory approaches in monitoring and evaluation of community conservation programs. It will cover core terms, principles and approaches to M&E that are important foundations of conservation program planning and implementation. How can M&E be incorporated into conservation programs in a way that supports community ownership and engagement? 

We will draw on a set of principles and guidelines for community-based conservation, called the ‘PARTNERS principles’, which have been developed based on the extensive experience of snow leopard conservation practitioners. The team will showcase participatory techniques for M&E from snow leopard and wider landscapes across the world. These sessions will build on Module 3 and Module 7 offered in 2020. An optional session will include a “workshop” style approach where the team works through planning a monitoring or evaluation method for real world examples from the snow leopard range. 

This module is offered thanks to the partnership with France’s National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment and the Snow Leopard Trust.   

A livestock owner in Ladakh, India, who partnered with the Nature Conservation Foundation to build a predator-proof corral. Photo: Snow Leopard Trust

Dates/time of module

  • Wednesdays May 5th, 12th, 19th 2021
  • 14:00-16:00 Bishkek time

Module Outline

  • Session 1: Introduction to Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Session 2: Community Conservation & Monitoring
  • Session 3: Participatory Approaches to Evaluation 

Meet the Resource Team

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.  

James Butler is currently running a program entitled ‘Knowledge brokering for Pacific climate futures’, which is designing participatory approaches to encourage the emergence of knowledge brokers, and then mechanisms to support them. Previously James has worked in resource conflict situations in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Zimbabwe and Scotland.

Juliette Young is a senior researcher at INRAE (France’s National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment) where she studies the human dimensions of biodiversity conservation. Much of her work focuses on the role of different actors, especially decision-makers and local communities, in the sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity. She has been working with the Snow Leopard Trust since 2016 on training in community-based conservation.

Justine Shanti Alexander is the Executive Director of the Snow Leopard Network. She provides support to the evaluation of the efficiency and effectiveness of community conservation initiatives to partners across the snow leopard range. Justine also acts as the Regional Ecologist for the Snow Leopard Trust and supports research and conservation work across China, Mongolia, Pakistan, India and Pakistan.

Criteria for participation

  • Snow Leopard Network Member
  • Confirmed availability to attend all the four online seminars of a given module
  • Number of participants is limited to 25

Planned Schedule

  • 2 hour online Zoom Seminars take place Wednesdays of the month, May 2021 at 14:00 Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan time.
  • Additional group work, assignments or readings are likely to be organized 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

  • April 25th, 2021. Please note places are limited so please do
    not delay in applying.
  • Register HERE

Module 9: Using the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) for snow leopard management and monitoring

The Snow Leopard Network is delighted to partner with WCS in offering this training Module. Module 9 introduces participants to practical tools for monitoring wildlife and potential threats across snow leopard habitat. Do join us!

 

About the module

The Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART), has rapidly become the global standard for protection monitoring and management. SMART is currently used in over 900 conservation areas and 60 countries worldwide. The use of SMART is however still limited across the snow leopard range. The “SMART Approach”, uses patrol monitoring data in management cycles that are aimed at step-by-step improvements in patrol quality. When applied properly, this approach can produce substantial improvements in wildlife protection. SMART monitoring makes it possible to measure trends in wildlife populations, patrol effort, poaching pressures, and other threats, and assess whether protection capacity is sufficient. SMART can help address threats to snow leopards, their prey species and their habitat and secure their survival. It is also possible to use advanced features of SMART to design surveys and sampling regimes for ungulate prey surveys.

The main goal of the module is to provide advanced understanding of the functionality of the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) in the context of adaptive management and the snow leopard’s range. Participants who complete the short course will:

      • Learn the basic features of the SMART tool to support protected area activities.
      • Know the philosophy of adaptive patrol management, the role that SMART plays in facilitating this, how to use SMART as a tool to support protection efforts
      • The process of implementing SMART at a site (trainings, meetings, logistics, and technical support)
      • How to adapt the tool to the particular needs of your site.
      • How to design surveys to collect data at your site

In summary participants will be exposed to the following practical tools:

      1. How to get started with SMART at a new site, and to sustain its use as a management tool
      2. Overview of SMART use and navigation, design of the data model and data base
      3. Overview of SMART mobile app and recommended devices 
      4. Practical use of SMART mobile-equipped smartphones for field data recording, uploading of configured models and downloading of patrol data
      5. Basic analysis with queries and summaries, an overview of reporting
      6. Introduction to use of SMART as a tool for designing surveys and data sampling

Dates of sessions

  • March 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th 2021
  • Thursday 17:30 – 19:30 Bishkek time. 

Draft Outline Schedule

  • Session 1: Overview of the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) and how it works (4 March)
  • Session 2: Getting started with SMART and making it sustainable at your conservation site (11 March)****
  • Session 3: SMART tools for data collection (18 March) 
  • Session 4: SMART ecological records for designing surveys (25 March)

****please note Session 2 will also be offered in Russian on March 12th and more information will soon be available

Meet the training team

Samantha Strindberg Ph.D

Samantha Strindberg is a Conservation Scientist and Wildlife Statistician in the Global Conservation Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a US-based NGO. She provides statistical design and analysis assistance to WCS staff based at terrestrial and marine field sites world-wide. She focuses in particular, on the appropriate application of continually evolving specialized techniques for wildlife surveys, and on conducting statistical analyses to investigate ecological and human-influenced relationships relevant to conservation management. 

Samantha also contributes to strategic conservation planning, by developing conceptual models and theories of change, and by designing monitoring programs to assess the effectiveness of conservation activities. She provides training workshops on wildlife survey methods and the design of monitoring programs most recently in conjunction with the SMART Ecological Records software. She is a member of the Committee of Scientific Advisors on Marine Mammals with the Marine Mammal Commission.

Samantha holds a Ph.D. in Statistics focused on Wildlife Population Assessment from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. While there, she was part of the Research Unit for Wildlife Population Assessment (RUWPA), and also worked on projects including the mapping and survey design component of the Distance software, the International Whaling Commission’s Database-Estimation Software System, as well as data entry software for cetacean surveys. Samantha originally majored in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. During this time, she also worked on fisheries and marine mammal population assessments. She has published four book chapters on distance sampling and a diverse set of peer-reviewed papers covering topics such as abundance estimation, spatial distribution, temporal trends, survey techniques, and evidence-based conservation. 

Michiel Hotte

Michiel has a Master’s Degree in Business Economics and Management from the University of Amsterdam and has worked in The Netherlands as a management consultant for KMPG and for Deloitte & Touche. Since 1996, he has been involved in conservation in the Russian Far East, from 1997, as Director of Tigris Foundation (a Dutch NGO for the protection of Amur leopards and tigers that he established) and between 2003 and 2008, as a staff member of the Zoological Society of London. Since 2006, he has been driving efforts of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Russia Program to design and introduce SMART systems  (and before that MIST) for monitoring and adaptive management of patrol efforts. WCS has assisted with introducing SMART to seven federal-level protected areas in Amur tiger habitat in the Russian Far East and to one wildlife management agency operating outside protected areas. 

Since 2016, Michiel has also worked on SMART projects in Central Asia. He assisted with the design and introduction of SMART for patrol efforts led by WCS in a protected area for snow leopards in the Wakhan Province of Afghanistan. In 2018, Michiel conducted a 5-day SMART introduction workshop for the Kazakh conservation NGO ACBK and various protected areas and protection agencies. In 2018, he conducted a 3-day SMART introduction workshop in Bishkek (together with Tony Lynam) for participants mainly from Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia. Since 2019, he has been assisting UNDP and its partners in Uzbekistan with the introduction of SMART to two pilot sites; the Gissar and Chatkal strict reserves in snow leopard habitat. If funding will be secured, Michiel will later this year start work on a pilot project for the introduction of SMART patrol management in two pilot reserves with snow leopards in Kyrgyzstan.

Antony Lynam

Antony Lynam joined the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in 1996. A trained ecologist and conservation scientist, he previously worked for the Western Australian Department of Conservation and Land Management and University of California, Riverside, and has 30 years of experience implementing and advising wildlife conservation and management projects in Australia, Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Russian Far East, South Sudan, Tanzania and Thailand. Throughout his career with WCS Antony has helped pilot the use of new technologies for solving conservation problems at our sites and landscapes.  This began with the use of passive and active infrared camera-traps for monitoring tigers and other endangered mammals in Indochina (1997-2004), training conservation field staff in GPS and navigation techniques (1999-present), introducing mobile data collecting devices for patrolling (2013-present) and use of remote sensing data for deforestation and threats mapping (FIRMS). He collaborated with other experts to publish technical papers on integrated technology for conservation and has presented the results of WCS conservation applications of technology at professional conferences.  Since 2004, Antony helped introduce the use of law enforcement monitoring databases at sites under the CITES MIKE programme in 8 countries in Southeast Asia. During 2011-2013, he helped introduce MIST to sites in SE Asia and since 2013, has been actively involved in the training and implementation of the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) around the world representing WCS on the User Council and leading the SMART Training Taskforce.  He led the development of SMART training handbooks and other resources.  He has organized and taught SMART trainings at local and national levels in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lao, Jamaica, Mongolia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Zambia. He is actively engaged in discussions about integrating new technologies (Earth Ranger, PAWS) with SMART for use in strengthening conservation implementation.

Criteria for participation

    • Snow Leopard Network Member
    • Confirmed availability to attend all the four online seminars of a given module
    • Number of participants is limited to 20-30
    • This module is particularly suitable for individuals who are based at snow leopard conservation sites and are involved in the entry of field patrol data onto computer, analysis & interpretation, management and/or administration of patrol data, or people in national offices who have direct responsibility for managing data coming from conservation sites. These individuals could hold positions such as: site-based data entry staff, senior rangers who work with patrol data, patrol supervisors, park managers and nationally-based enforcement data managers.
    • Participants will need a minimum of basic English language skills, and computer literacy (able to operate a laptop or PC, and be familiar with Windows or Mac OSX operating systems). 
    • During the module participants are asked to use a laptop computer with windows or Mac OSX but Windows 10 is preferred. 

Applications

    • Applications close Wednesday, February 24th, 2021. 
    • Please note places are limited so please do not delay in applying.
    • Application link here

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Module 8: Environmentally and Socially responsible Tourism in Snow Leopard Landscapes

Photo by Behzad Larry

About the module 

Tourism across the snow leopard range is growing rapidly. It is taking different forms in different settings and if managed effectively could be an opportunity to support or strengthen conservation efforts. However, tourism also may represent a threat to these fragile landscapes. 

The aim of this module is to create a platform to discuss principles that could be used to inform and facilitate environmentally and socially responsible tourism in snow leopard habitats. This includes how we define ‘conservation centered tourism’; considering social and environmental impacts; and how tourism can under certain circumstances be an effective conservation tool. The module brings together expertise from past, ongoing and planned tourism models from across the snow leopard range. This will allow us to showcase and discuss different facets of tourism and ways to maximize conservation potential. We recognise the experience of many SLN members in this area and encourage them to join us in this effort by contributing their own experiences and ideas.   

During the module participants will work with the facilitators to discuss and develop principles and a working framework that could guide responsible tourism in different settings. By the end of the course it is hoped that participants will be exposed to a broad set of perspectives and have had the opportunity to contribute to ideas and tools directed towards such goals. 

This module is being organised thanks to the support of the GSLEP Program  , Snow Leopard Foundation-Pakistan and PSLEP. Range country governments have highlighted how tourism is increasing across the snow leopard range and there is a need to identify ways to assess trade-offs and find ways to leverage conservation goals (GSLEP doc). We hope that these discussions will contribute toward these goals.

Dates of sessions

    • February 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd 2021
    • Tuesdays 14:00- 16:00 Bishkek time.  

Draft Outline Schedule

    • Session 1: Tourism as a conservation tool?
    • Session 2: Community conservation & tourism
    • Session 3: Risks and opportunities
    • Session 4: Shaping relevant framework(s)
Photo by Behzad Larry
Photo by ShanShui Conservation Center

Meet the Resource Team 

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. 

Behzad Larry is the CEO of Voygr Expeditions and a founding member of the High Asia Habitat Fund. An avid explorer, Behzad specializes in documenting the remote reaches of the world. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) and a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society. Voygr (pronounced voyager) operates guided tours along the ancient Silk Route in Central Asia, the Russian Far-East, the towering Himalayas, and North India. Voygr’s journeys combine the best of ancient cultures and living history, with phenomenal wildlife and awe-inspiring landscapes. Voygr specialises in conservation based tourism (cultural and environmental) and is the world’s leading ethical snow leopard tour operator. 

Ismail is an internationally featured nature and wildlife photographer and fine art printmaker who comes from from Hyderabad, India. His background was originally in Project Management and Entrepreneurship. “I aspire to make uncommon images with common subjects and my creative and emotional affinity towards nature is what drives me to capture wildlife images in an artistic manner. While the photographer community calls me the “Snow Leopard Man” for my good fortune of pursuing and documenting the rarest and most challenging of wild cats of India, at heart, I identify as a conservationist photographer. I believe in learning about the ground realities of the ecosystem first hand. My way of contributing to the cause of conservation is primarily through exhibiting and fundraising to support organisations like the Snow Leopard Network, Snow Leopard Trust and Fishing Cat Conservancy.”

Joanna Van Gruisen has lived in the subcontinent since the late 1970s. A wildlife documentary filmmaker and early pioneer of wildlife photography in India, she spent many years in J&K and Ladakh as photographer and as assistant organiser of Earthwatch volunteer tourism groups. As a wildlife photographer and writer on environment issues she has been at the heart of conservation in India for several decades. She now co-owns and runs a small eco lodge in central India and is a founder member of a trust, Baavan – bagh aap aur van, that is developing a conservation tourism project with the community in a remote area beyond the boundary of the Panna Tiger Reserve.

Dr. Raghu Chundawat started his career as a conservation biologist more than thirty years ago with research on snow leopard in Ladakh. Later, he worked as Regional Science and Conservation Director for the International Snow Leopard Trust. He was a member of the teaching faculty of the Wildlife Institute of India. He is very closely involved with tiger conservation and research in a dry tropical forest of central India and recently published a book based on his ten-year study there “The Rise and Fall of The Emerald Tigers”. For the last eight years, he has been active in wildlife tourism research. He is the recipient of several conservation awards. In 2003 BBC/Animal Planet produced an award-winning wildlife documentary film on his work with the Tigers in Panna − “Tigers of the Emerald Forest”.

Terry Townshend is a Beijing-based conservation and climate change expert with specific expertise on legislation and wildlife conservation in China. In 2018 he became a Fellow of the Paulson Institute, advising their conservation programme, and in 2019 I was invited by the Beijing Municipal government to be a consultant on a project to “rewild” Beijing. In 2017, in partnership with Chinese NGO ShanShui Conservation Center, he devised and helped to set up a community-based wildlife watching tourism project with yak herders on the Tibetan Plateau, focusing on snow leopards. The herders were awarded the first community-based tourism concession for a National Park in China, informing policy development for China’s national park system, and in 2020, were awarded second prize in the Nature Stewardship category of the coveted Paulson Prize.

Yuhan Li is a conservationist from China. She is a Rhodes Scholar and a MPhil candidate at the University of Oxford. Her current research involves analysing public perceptions around the illegal trade of jaguar in Latin America, and wild meat consumption in China and central Africa. Before going to Oxford, she was a trainee of Shanshui Conservation Centre and managed the field station in the Sanjiangyuan National Park. She coordinated several community-based snow leopard conservation projects, such as human-wildlife conflict solution and snow leopard eco-tourism. 

Dr. Ali Nawaz has 20 years of field research experience, spanning over diverse geographical regions in Pakistan, and has 35 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. In recognition of Dr. Nawaz’s efforts to protect the endangered snow leopard in the mountains of northern Pakistan, HRH The Princess Royal presented him the 2016 Whitley Award, a prestigious international nature conservation prize. Dr. Nawaz holds a PhD in ecology and natural resource management from University of Life Sciences Norway, and has rich exposure to various wildlife field techniques, and is trained in animal capturing, marking and telemetry, and GIS and remote sensing.

The module will also be supported by GSLEP and SLN’s Koustubh Sharma, Justine Shanti Alexander, Ranjini Murali and Rakhee Karumbaya .

Criteria for participation

    • Snow Leopard Network Member
    • Confirmed availability to attend all the four online seminars of a given module
    • Experience of working on snow leopard conservation or Tourism or concrete plans to be involved in such efforts is welcome and we encourage participants to contribute ideas and experiences. 
    • Number of participants is limited to 20-30

Planned Schedule

    • 2 hour online Zoom Seminars take place every Tuesday of the month, February 2021 (4 Seminars; Feb 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd) at 14:00- 16:00 Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan time
    • Please note we encourage participants to attend the complete set of Seminars as they are interconnected and build on each other

Applications

    • Applications close Thursday, January 28th, 2021. 
    • Please note places are limited so please do not delay in applying.
    • Application link here
Photo by Behzad Larry

Module 7: Active listening in community conservation

Very warm New Year greetings to all.

The SLN training initiative continues in 2021. In followup to last years multi-disciplinary snow leopard training modules we will begin the year with a short module- Active listening in community conservation– that builds on Module 3’s PARTNERS Principle’s community conservation focus. This January module was specifically requested by the Module 3 training participants in September and we are delighted to welcome Juliette Young and Ajay Bijoor to lead this session. 

Please note that this training will be a one off intensive session taking place mid January- so if interested do not miss it! This Module is offered thanks to the support of the University of Bourgogne Franche-Comte, Nature Conservation Foundation and the Snow Leopard Trust.

About the course

When working with communities and local people, our ability to listen attentively can go a long way in gaining a greater understanding of the context and the perspectives of different people. It also is key to building trust with communities and individuals. In order to really understand and empathise with others it is essential to be able to listen to what others are saying, without distraction, without hearing what you think you should hear, and without immediately jumping to conclusions. Active listening is a skill that can be learned and does help us as conservationists in the practice of empathy. It does require however concentration, practice and reflection. This course will introduce you to the principles of Active Listening and give you practical tools to build these skills.  

About the Facilitators

Juliette Young is a Professor at the University of Bourgogne Franche-Comte, where she studies the human dimensions of biodiversity conservation. Much of her work focuses on the role of different actors, especially decision-makers and local communities, in the sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity. She has been working with the Snow Leopard Trust since 2016 on training in community-based conservation.

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. 

Justine Shanti Alexander is the Executive Director of the Snow Leopard Network. She provides support to the evaluation of the efficiency and effectiveness of community conservation initiatives to partners across the snow leopard range. Justine also acts as the Regional Ecologist for the Snow Leopard Trust and supports research and conservation work across in China, Mongolia, Pakistan, India and Pakistan.

Criteria for participation

  • Confirmed availability to attend the online seminar
  • Number of participants is limited to 25
  • Priority will be given to participants from snow leopard range countries 

Planned Schedule

  • 2 hour online Zoom Seminar on January 20th, 2021 at 14:30 Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan time. 

Applications

  • Friday, January 15th, 2021. Please note places are limited so please do not delay in applying.
  • Application link here