SLN Webinar – Drivers of snow leopard poaching and illegal trade in Pakistan

 

The Snow Leopard Network invites you to join us for this Webinar on Tuesday, 24th May, 2022.  The snow leopard is facing a range of conventional and emerging threats. Poaching of snow leopards for illegal trade has been identified as one of the major threats to the species across many parts of its range. Several factors limit our ability to monitor illegal wildlife trade (IWT) and put in place effective interventions. The 2013 Bishkek declaration calls for “firm action to stop poaching and illegal trade of snow leopard and other wildlife by adopting comprehensive legislation, strengthening national law-enforcement system, enhancing national, sub regional, regional and international collaboration and developing effective mechanism to eliminate the illegal demand for snow leopard and other wildlife products”.

Please join us in welcoming our guest speaker Fathul Bari from the University of Chitral, who will share updates on this prominent threat to snow leopards in Pakistan. This talk will be 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.

About the Talk

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.

Our Guests

Mr. Fathul Bari is based at the Department of Zoology, University of Chitral. He works on wildlife resources of the mountainous areas focusing on contemporary conservation issues. His research on illegal wildlife trade is based on data collected from local respondents, markets, media, NGOs and divisional & provincial wildlife departments. He has been working in the snow leopard range for the past several years and gained vast experience in wildlife research and conservation.

Koustubh Sharma is the International Coordinator of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP) and the Assistant Director of Conservation Policy and Partnerships at the Snow Leopard Trust. With more than 20 years of experience in ecological research, wildlife conservation and training, he helps build collaborations and coordinate alliances at multiple levels for snow leopard research and conservation.

Date/Time:  Tuesday 24th May, 2022 at 1:30 PM IST (India)

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.

 

 

SLN Webinar: Snow leopards on the Tibetan Plateau: Diets, interspecific relationships, and livestock consumption

The Snow Leopard Network is pleased to announce our 4th #snowleopard webinar of 2022. SLN is delighted to bring back a focus on exploring snow leopard Genetics. In November 2020, we hosted an overview discussion with Dr. Ramakrishnan and a launched with partners a training initiative specifically focussing on genetic research techniques.

We welcome Dr. Meng Yao and Dr. Cheng Chen who are leading genetic research on snow leopards and other mountain carnivores on the Tibetan Plateau, China. This Webinar allows us to meet researchers at Peking University whose work bridge the world of snow leopards with wider prey and predator interactions. Genetic methods and their applications keep evolving and offer new possibilities of understand and conserving threatened wildlife -> join us for a discussion on how teams are growing and taking forward these approaches with snow leopards and other species. 

About the Talk

Dr. Meng Yao will open the event with the main presentation. As many SLN members know, snow leopards are highly elusive and it is extremely difficult to observe their behaviour in the field. Luckily, the advances of molecular tools enable a peek into their mysterious life on the Tibetan plateau. Using DNA extracted from snow leopard faeces, it has been possible to decipher snow leopard diets and food preferences at fine species resolution, and analyze their niche relationship with other co-existing carnivores in the Minshan Mountains of Sichuan and the Sanjiangyuan Region of Qinghai, China. In addition, insight into the factors affecting the carnivore’s livestock consumption has been gained. We discuss how this study links to conservation management design and mitigates human-snow leopard conflict. Dr. Cheng Chen will join us as Discussant sharing her perspectives from wider work on snow leopard genetics in China.

Qi Lu, a PhD candidate of the team, is extracting DNA from snow leopard faecal samples in the laboratory.

About our Guests

Dr. Meng Yao

Meng Yao received Ph.D. in molecular cellular & developmental biology from the University of Michigan. She began her appointment at Peking University in 2009, first as an Assistant Professor and currently as a Research Associate Professor. She is a molecular ecologist and conservation geneticist whose research interests include food-web interactions, environmental DNA-based biodiversity monitoring, and population genetics. She applies faecal DNA metabarcoding to reconstruct feeding habits and niche relationships among mammalian carnivores and aquatic eDNA to the detection of invasive species and biodiversity.

Dr. Cheng Chen

Cheng Chen is Program Director of the Nature Watch Program, in Shanshui Conservation Center. She worked on population genetics of Sichuan snub-nosed monkey and snow leopard landscape genetic conservation in Sanjiangyuan during her PHD and postdoc with the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Center for Nature and Society of Peking University. She has established a genetics research platform for supporting wildlife conservation in Sanjiangyuan National Park. Since 2015, she has been continuously coordinating and promoting the Snow Leopard China network. Since 2019, she started the current position as Director of the Nature Watch Program, and is mainly focused on and dedicated to promoting the mainstreaming of biodiversity conservation from the perspectives of biodiversity databases, policy advocacy and sustainable investment.

Date/Time

Tuesday, 29th  March, 2022 at 16:00 Beijing time

Register today

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.

 

Qi Lu, a PhD candidate of the team, collecting snow leopard faeces in Qinghai

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.

Women and Voices from Periphery: SLN & International Women’s Day

The Snow Leopard Network is hosting a special event for International Women’s Day, March 8th 2022. The theme for this year’s 2022 International Day is Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow. Our event takes this theme into highlighting the opportunities for translating gender equality into practice of community conservation.

We are delighted to welcome Deepshikha Sharma and Chemi Lhamo who have been working in the high Himalayas of Spiti, India on snow leopard conservation with the Nature Conservation Foundation India. Our guests bring a unique perspective of bringing new and long term programs to support women at community level, including identifying and empower women champions for snow leopard conservation. We are looking forward to hearing their account and how their work contributes to a ‘sustainable tomorrow’ for snow leopard landscapes.

Following SLN’s Women & Conservation Series launched in 2021, we organized a poll on Twitter asking members and the conservation community what they considered to be of greatest interest for an online discussion related to gender and conservation. Participants fed back that they would welcome additional discussions related to gender and community conservation. The March 8th event gives us an opportunity not only to hear from most recent experiences in Spiti, India but also a chance to provide a platform for SLN members to share examples of gender sensitive or responsive community conservation for snow leopards. 

After the main presentation and questions we will dedicate the remainder of the session to collating these examples and experiences. With this in mind we specially encourage SLN members to come ready to communicate briefly: links of projects or documented examples of similar efforts that we can subsequently add to SLN’s resource centre. Do join us to promote these themes. 

About the Talk

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 will 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.

Photo by the Nature Conservation Foundation

About our Guests

Deepshikha has a master’s degree in Development from Azim Premji University and is currently working as a conservation coordinator at Nature Conservation Foundation. She has been facilitating community-led conservation in upper Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh and in parts of Ladakh. She has been involved in the community issue of livestock depredation by wildlife and has been working towards raising awareness and reducing losses faced by herders. She is also working towards bringing local women to the forefront of conservation in the landscape.

 

Chemi has completed her post-graduate studies in Literature from the University of Delhi. She has worked in the Indian development sector as a communication professional raising awareness and engagement around issues of rural development, menstrual health & disaster relief, and rehabilitation. She currently works with NCF’s High Altitude Program to support conservation outreach in Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur & Ladakh. She is interested in exploring wildlife conservation through the lens of social justice and intersectionality.

Date/Time

Tuesday, March 8th, 2022 at 17:00 India time

Register today 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.
Photo by the Nature Conservation Foundation
Photo by the Nature Conservation Foundation
Photo by the Nature Conservation Foundation

SLN Webinar: From climate to carnivores: the transitions of a change

SLN is pleased to welcome Dr. Sandro Lovari, our SLN Steering Committee Chair, in this second Webinar focussing on Climate Change in mountain areas. In 2021 we began to examine the overarching threat of climate change to snow leopard habitats with a panel discussion. Our previous webinar took a special focus on indigenous knowledge of climate change and the impacts on herder livelihood. In this 2022 webinar we explore the impacts of climate change on mountain ungulates and their ecosystems. Whatever happens to the snow leopard’s main prey- as a result of climate change- matters hugely to the snow leopard future. Sandro will discuss a number of potential scenarios for how ungulates across the world may be affected, and in turn carnivores.

Please join us in this very pertinent and timely discussion, from a scientific as well as conservation perspective. As our understanding of climate change impacts changes over time we hope to continue to bring together experts and resource persons together to open up perspectives and share ideas for the way forward.  

About the Talk

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.

Apennine chamois (photo S. Tribuzi)

About our Speaker

Sandro Lovari has led research expeditions and projects in Bangladesh, Canada, Kenya, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Italy. For some 50 years, he has been working steadily on the behaviour, ecology and conservation of large mammals. His contributions to science include some 240 full papers and 10 books. He has been associated to various universities around the world. From 1990 to 2016, he has been full professor of Animal Behaviour at Siena University-Italy. Although retired, Sandro remains involved in research, and is professor emeritus at the Natural History Museum in Grosseto-Italy. He has been a member of the I.U.C.N./SSC Caprinae Specialist Group, chairing it for a total of 19 years, besides being a member of the Bear SG, Deer SG and Conservation Translocations SG. In 2020, he has been elected chair of the Steering Committee of the Snow Leopard Network.

Date/Time

Monday, 28th February, 2022 at 13:00 CET

Register today

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.
Snow leopard feeding on prey. (photo J-P Crampe)

 

SLN Webinar: Women & Community Conservation – Jan 13th-new date!

We are pleased to announce that this webinar previously scheduled in September 2021, (Part 1 of the series) – will take place on January 13th 2022.

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.

We hope to see you, all members both men and women, at this very special webinar and look forward to drawing on your experiences and insights during the discussion. 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).

About the Webinar

 

Opening the webinar we first hear from the panelists, each with a five-minute presentation, where they set the context of their work and highlight key issues. This will be followed by the panel discussion facilitated by Dr. Charudutt Mishra for twenty minutes focusing on opportunities and identifying strategies and priorities for engaging women in conservation programmes. This will be followed by an open interaction with the audience.

Photo by SLN

About our Guests

Bayara Agvantsaaren is the Executive Director of Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation and Mongolia Program Director, at the Snow Leopard Trust. “I have been working as a snow leopard conservationist since 1998 when I co-found Snow Leopard Enterprises Program which offers income generation to women rural herders who share mountain with these elusive cats. It has been amazing 20+ years career journey to work with different aspects of conservation. I am privileged to be able to help both snow leopards and local people.” shares Bayara.

Professor Lu Zhi is a conservation biologist in China whose work covers multiple-disciplinary researches and bridging academic research and practices, in order to seek solutions for conservation and sustainable development in China and to promote China’s positive role in the world. She has studied ecology and conservation of endangered species in southwest China and on the Tibetan Plateau, such as the giant panda, the snow leopard, the blue sheep, the Tibetan brown bear and the Przewalski gazelle, as well as their interactions with human activities. In recent years, she focuses on mechanisms of coexistence between human and nature. She leads conservation initiatives on community-led conservation and citizen sciences in both rural and urban contexts based on economic incentives, cultural values and policy improvements. She involved in conservation policy making at regional and national levels, and is an active member of international conservation discussions. 

Rashmi Singh is a PhD Scholar at the School of Human Ecology, Ambedkar University and Associate Editor for Pastoralism– research, policy and practice Journal. Her PhD work explores the politics of rangeland conservation in the Himalaya using an interdisciplinary approach. Her primary research interest includes disciplines of pastoral studies, rangeland conservation and animal geography. In the last nine years, she has worked extensively on the social dimensions of wildlife conservation across India. Her ongoing research has highlighted the importance of including pastoralists in the policy formulation, wildlife conservation, and management of rangelands. She is intrigued by the pastoral indigenous knowledge system and believes that long term regional studies are crucial for reconciling pastoral livelihood and rangeland conservation goals. 

Photo by Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation Mongolia

Date/Time

Thursday, 13th January at 1500 Beijing/Shanghai time (13:00 Bishkek time)

Location

Zoom – 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.
Photo by ShanShui/ Snow Leopard Trust / Panthera

SLN Webinar: 50 years Eurasian lynx in Switzerland – Experience with the reintroduction of a large carnivore

The Eurasian lynx co-exists with the snow leopard in parts of its range. Conservation of the two species are interconnected and collaborative efforts have the potential to strengthen each other. A large body of knowledge about the lynx has been gathered in Europe over the last half century. SLN’s coming webinar will introduce us to the lessons drawn from Eurasian lynx conservation efforts in Switzerland. 

SLN is pleased to invite Christine Breitenmoser-Würsten and Urs Breitenmoser to lead this webinar on Monday, 6th December, 2021 at 10 am CET. Sandro Lovari, SLN’s Steering Committee Chair will facilitate the discussion around this exchange of learnings. We look forward to this session which goes broader than the snow leopard, as requested by many members. 

Eurasian lynx

About the Webinar

The Eurasian lynx is one of the most widespread cats of the world, but in its western range, in Europe, it was almost eradicated in the 19th century. Today, the autochthonous populations in northern and eastern Europe have recovered, and in west and central Europe, several populations were reintroduced.

The first successful reintroduction was in the Swiss Alps in 1971. The reintroduction was possible because in the first half of the 20th century, the forests – habitat of the lynx – and wild ungulates such as roe deer or chamois have recovered, reconstituting the ecological framework for the return of the lynx. However, people had lost their ancient knowledge of cohabitation with large carnivores, and the return of an efficient predator and competitor was a big challenge for the human community.

Nowadays, the lynx is broadly accepted. However, the reintroduction was an extreme population bottleneck, and 50 years after the first releases, the genetic situation of the population is a major concern. The fall and raise of the megafauna – both herbivores and carnivores – were tightly connected to long-term societal and economic development and the transition from a more agricultural society to an urban industrial and service society. Such experience – both negative and positive – can help to better foresee and mitigate human-carnivore conflicts in the fast changing world of Asia.

Eurasian Lynx 

About our Guests

Christine Breitenmoser-Würsten and Urs Breitenmoser both have a PhD in zoology from the University of Bern. They are ecologists who have mainly worked on the challenges of large carnivores making a comeback in Switzerland, especially the Eurasian lynx, which was reintroduced in the Swiss Alps and in the Jura Mountains in the early 1970s. Christine and Urs have directed the Swiss Foundation KORA – carnivore ecology and wildlife management. Since 2001, they are the co-chairs of the IUCN SSC Cat Specialist Group.

Date/Time

Monday, 6th December, 2021 at 10 am CET

Register today

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.
Female Roe Deer

SLN Webinar: Snow leopards in the land of mountain deities

Camera trap photo by PNC

We invite you to our next SLN webinar which continues our series on different Science & Conservation perspectives around snow leopards. This webinar will take us to the Tibetan Plateau in China where we will hear from Awang, the founder of the Plateau Nature Conservancy. We will learn about how he and his team are bridging science and traditional knowledge for snow leopard conservation. LingYun, SLN’s Committee Member, will also join us as facilitator, adding insights from her work on the plateau. 

As usual our format will be a talk of 20-30 minutes followed by an interactive discussion. Awang has some remarkable images and stories to share. Please register through the link below and help us spread the word and share the news with your colleagues and those who would be interested in attending.

About the Webinar

Awang will share how the Plateau Nature Conservancy (PNC) is supporting Tibetan herders from the sacred mountain range Amney Machin at the Source of the Yellow River to carry out snow leopard camera trap surveys. He will discuss how his team is working with local herders to combine traditional ways of biodiversity conservation with the concepts of contemporary conservation and regional conservation policy. All of their work is conducted around mountains that are considered sacred in Tibetan Buddhism and around the sacred lakes at the source of the Yellow River. These sacred features of the area provide an opportunity to strengthen and protect these snow leopard landscapes. Awang’s talk will share how such traditional forms of protecting mountain areas are still playing an important role in conservation of alpine ecosystem and wildlife within it.        

Snow leopard camera trap photo by PNC. Can you see the snow leopard?
Phhoto by PNC

About our Guests

Awang is founder and director of Plateau Nature Conservancy (PNC) in China. He is a wildlife conservationist and researcher who has worked in the Tibetan Plateau for 10 years. In 2007, he joined Fauna and Flora International (FFI) and worked on several conservation initiatives including rangeland management, community-based conservation and public environmental education. In 2013, he completed his MSc at DICE, University of Kent, and majored in Biodiversity Conservation and Tourism. He is currently a member of ICCA (Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas) China and China Federation of Youth Committee.

Photo of Awang by PNC

Date/Time

Tuesday, November 16th, 2021 at 16:00-17:00 Beijing time

Location

Zoom: Register through the following link.

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.
Camera trap photo by PNC
Photo by PNC

Women & Science

The challenges presented by the current environmental crisis require a diversity of perspectives and capacities to achieve human well-being and biodiversity outcomes that are equitable and just. However, the scientific community is still missing essential perspectives from women scientists.

There is evidence of a large and persistent gender gap across a number of levels. For example, as an indicator of representation, a 2021 study showed that women represented only 11% of the top-publishing authors in over a 1000 leading journals in ecology, evolution, and conservation between 1945 to 2019. In the most recent period (2005-2019) there is progress but slow (18% vs 13% in the 1990-2004 period). Within those figures there remains further underrepresentation of women and scientists from the Global South. The research publication gap in the snow leopard conservation community has not yet been assessed in detail. It may however be facing a similar trend. Women’s contribution to snow leopard science is broader and individuals and organizations are making efforts to empower women scientists across the snow leopard range and world.  

In this webinar we hear from women scientists who have been working on snow leopard science –  Dr. Bermet Tursunkulova, Imogene Cancellare & Dr. Manvi Sharma – and involved in work that supports women in participation and decision making. They will highlight gaps and challenges they see for women in science and discuss strategies for building scientific capacity and creating a supportive community for snow leopard researchers. Dr. Justine Shanti Alexander, the Executive Director of the Snow Leopard Network, will facilitate the panel discussion. She has been actively involved in snow leopard research and conservation for a number of years and brings further perspectives from the SLN network.

More information about the speakers can be found here.