Snow Leopard Conservation in Wakhan, Afghanistan

SLN is pleased to welcome Mr. Sorosh Poya Faryabi and Dr. Eve Bohnett for this special Country Update. The Wakhan Corridor is a narrow strip of isolated high mountain terrain in the far northeast of Afghanistan. The landscape is situated in the western part of the snow leopard range, linking with Pakistan, Tajikistan and China. WCS Afghanistan in close partnership with the government of Afghanistan, has collated critical information about snow leopards in Wakhan through camera trapping and collaring. It also continues implement with district authorities varied community-based conservation action in this extremely remote part of the country.

About the talk

This webinar provides an overview of recent snow leopard conservation efforts in the Wakhan National Park (WNP), a 10,950km2 GSLEP designated ‘priority landscape’ in Afghanistan. The National Park is situated at the junction of the Pamir, Hindu Kush and Karakoram mountain ranges. WNP is co-managed by communities and the national government as an IUCN Category VI protected area. Since 2006 it has received contributions from numerous bilateral donors for conservation actions undertaken by the government, with the technical support of WCS. This region hosts the core of the snow leopard population in Afghanistan.

Mr. Sorosh Poya Faryabi, Conservation and Science Manager for WCS Afghanistan, provides an update on the status of snow leopards in the country. It starts off with the history of WCS engagement in snow leopard conservation in the country, followed by an overview of conservation efforts to protect snow leopards in WNP. Dr. Eve Bohnett then describes the population assessment approach and associated challenges the team has experienced in identifying snow leopard individuals with artificial intelligence in the Wakhan. Finally, the presenters look ahead and share ideas for the future development for snow leopard monitoring in the country.  

This presentation is a tribute to the People of Wakhan who provide snow leopards a safe haven in their area.

Find out more about our speakers HERE.

Snow leopards in Nepal: Satellite Telemetry Update

SLN welcomes Samundra Subba and Sheren Shrestha from WWF Nepal in this further update from teams working in Nepal. Orjan Johansson – SLN Steering Committee member and also a specialist on snow leopard collaring- will joins us as facilitator.

About the talks

Ensuring the long term viability of snow leopards (Panthera uncia) across large human dominated landscapes requires an understanding of its spatial ecology and movement behavior. In the first section of the talk, Samundra Subba presents preliminary findings of the first ever GPS telemetry study by the Nepal government in the western and eastern snow leopard landscapes, and supported by WWF. The speakers give insights into what was found regarding the snow leopard’s spatial range and movement patterns, including transboundary travel to India and China.

In a second section, Sheren Shrestha describes how the collaring research is blended with community knowlege to strengthen conservation efforts. While modern science and technology has helped us understand the elusive snow leopards better, many conservation solutions find basis in traditional and community knowledge. Sheren will furthermore outline how their project supports the Nepal government to find solutions that benefit both snow leopards and communities in the Himalayas, with focus on Shey Phoksundo National Park in western Nepal.

Find out more about our speakers HERE.

Snow leopard research and conservation in the Russian Federation

Russia is host to a unique snow leopard population found at the most northern latitudes of the range, in areas largely bordering Mongolia. The county is at the same time estimated to hold 2% of the global snow leopard population. During the Webinar our guests- Alexander Karnaukhov and Tatiana Ivanitskaya– share insights into WWF-Russia’s snow leopard conservation program of the Altai-Sayan Eco-region. They describe the main threat to the snow leopard in Russia– which is considered to be snaring. Poaching of other species, such as musk deer, with metal wire snares threatens the snow leopard. The team showcase a range of tools and techniques to monitor snow leopard populations in the area. They also share with us insights into WWF-Russia’s conservation and communication strategy. 

A joint effort to map the snow leopard across Mongolia

We invite you to watch our second Snow Leopard Network webinar of this series; updates from snow leopard range countries. Our guest Dr. Gantulga Bayandonoi, from WWF-Mongolia, shares with us recent updates on a country level distribution survey of snow leopards in Mongolia. Dr. Bayandonoi’s presentation of 20 minutes is followed by a vibrant discussion on the conservation of the species and the National survey covering the entire snow leopard range of the country. Purejav Lkhagvajav, Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation Mongolia, joins us as guest discussant. 

Thank you to all the participants who joined us live.