Please find details below, to a new article added to the Bibliography:
Title: Understanding People’s Relationship With Wildlife in Trans-Himalayan Folklore.
Authors: Bhatia, S., Suryawanshi, K., Redpath, S., Namgail, S., Mishra, C.
Abstract: People’s views and values for wild animals are often a result of their experiences and traditional knowledge. Local folklore represents a resource that can enable an understanding of the nature of human-wildlife interactions, especially the underlying cultural values. Using archival searches and semi-structured interviews, we collected narratives about the ibex (Capra sibirica) (n = 69), and its predators, the wolf (Canis lupus) (n = 52) and the snow leopard (Panthera uncia) (n = 43), in Ladakh, India. We compared these stories to those of a mythical carnivore called seng ge or snow lion (n = 19), frequently referenced in local Tibetan Buddhist folklore and believed to share many of the traits commonly associated with snow leopards (except for livestock depredation). We then categorized the values along social-cultural, ecological and psychological dimensions. We found that the ibex was predominantly associated with utilitarianism and positive symbolism. Both snow leopard and wolf narratives referenced negative affective and negative symbolic values, though more frequently in the case of wolves. Snow leopard narratives largely focused on utilitarian and ecologistic values. In contrast, snow lion narratives were mostly associated with positive symbolism. Our results suggest that especially for snow leopards and wolves, any potentially positive symbolic associations appeared to be overwhelmed by negative sentiments because of their tendency to prey on livestock, unlike in the case of the snow lion. Since these values reflect people’s real and multifarious interactions with wildlife, we recommend paying greater attention to understanding the overlaps between natural and cultural heritage conservation to facilitate human-wildlife coexistence.
Our first Session of Module 8 will kick us off framing the issue of tourism and conservation in the setting of snow leopard habitats. Raghu and Joanna have outlined some of these ideas in this downloadable note. If you have time please do read it before joining (if not after the session as a resource). This note may spark your ideas on questions to ask or thoughts to throw into the discussion.
Session 1.1: Tourism as a conservation tool?
Session 1.2: Conservation tourism – economic driver for inclusive conservation
Eco-tourism and conservation tourism are different although both can benefit conservation.
Conservation tourism is a term used when tourism planning is centered around conservation goals. Conservation tourism entails tourism being an active participant in conservation whereas other forms of tourism are passive and reactive to existing conservation.
Important to maintain clarity over the terms so that later evaluations can be accurately assessed in a way that has not been possible with eco-tourism due to its conflation with other forms such as nature tourism, wildlife tourism, even adventure and outdoor tourism.
Conservation can be better when different conservation models run parallel and complementing existing ones
Beyond our Protected Areas conservation success can be achieve with active participation of communities
Economic incentives can help encourage active participation of communities in conservation
Tourism is growing industry and can be a nature friendly activity for ecologically sensitive areas and it can generate substantial economic benefits for communities
Tourism for conservation must be developed, guided, promoted within a conservation framework and bring economic well-being of the communities
Benefits from tourism must add to the existing livelihood and not replace the existing income sources
The development of tourism must ensure a tangible outcome of conservation to use it as an effective conservation tool.
Equitable distribution of incentives is key to the success in making tourism into conservation tourism. With small but equitable benefits bigger conservation goals can be achieved.
Greater individual benefits more divisive it is for the community to participation
Tourism benefits can be effectively used to generate snow leopard friendly perception and reduce conflict.
In this first webinar of 2021 we travel to the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau with a young team of researchers who are looking at snow leopard conservation from a wider perspective- and considering other large mammals. We are pleased to welcome Charlotte Hacker and Dr. Yunchuan Dai who discuss Tibetan brown bear and snow leopard research and conservation in China. Our speakers give a particular focus to how these carnivores co-exist with humans and varying land use patterns- highlight key conservation messages and learnings.
In this 2nd session of Module 8 we move forward and specifically look at the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of engaging communities for conservation led tourism. We capture the positions of different stakeholders and how they can, or might not always, be aligned with benefits reaching the community as a whole.
Session 2.1: Why should local communities be central to conservation?
Session 2.2: Principles for community led conservation tourism in China
Session 2.3: A large scale context approach
Why should local communities be central to the conservation of snow leopards?
What are the benefits and risks of involving local communities for conservation of snow leopard landscapes?
There maybe a tension between tourist experiences and community cohesion. For example tourists will want to stay at the best place for the best chance. They will also want to choose where they stay. Versus the community being empowered to regulate, and promote the equitable distribution of benefits.
How can effective community structures deal with tourism and manage the program?
There is a need for support of the local governments and other enforcement agencies
An integrated approach is crucial when looking at snow leopard tourism. While one community may be better suited to host guests, other nearby communities can be part of the wider service ecosystem. One can consider the distribution of benefits at the landscape level
I am happy to announce that with the continued generous support of the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, Panthera will be accepting letters of interest from February 15th through March 15th, for our Sabin Snow Leopard grants program.
This will be our 7th year of the grant program and the accomplishments of grantees from the past 6 years have been tremendous and inspiring. I can offer that the common thread among successful applicants has been their innovative approach to creating new tools, addressing old questions from new perspectives, and/or filling significant knowledge gaps.
Please see the attached, or follow the link below, for details.
This 3rd session of Module 8 covers the “Risks” that tourism can pose across snow leopard landscapes, especially if not managed ethically. We then discuss the strategies we can use to ‘mitigate’ these risks and the roles that different stakeholders can play in mitigating this risks.
Session 3.1: Introduction to risks
Session 3.2: Discussion on potential risks
Session 3.3: Mitigate risks
Session 3.4: Approaches to mitigate risks
What are the social, economic and ecological risks posed by conservation led tourism?
The major risks are all caused by a lack of planning, and a community responding haphazardly to a market driven demand for wildlife tourism.
MITIGATE THESE RISKS BY:
Assessing potential of snow leopard tourism at a regional level.
Developing a mechanism to address failure of systems and/or stakeholders.
We are happy to welcome you to our first SLN Webinar for 2021. In 2020 we launched the Webinar series with updates from the range and new directions in snow leopard research and conservation. In 2021 we continue to welcome organisations working on different aspects of snow leopard conservation and individuals at different stages of their career. We also would like to widen the scope of the webinars to feature the diversity of contributors to snow leopard conservation, including community members, young researchers and policy makers. In this first webinar we will travel to the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau with a young team of researchers who are looking at snow leopard conservation from a wider perspective- and considering other large mammals.
We are pleased to welcome Charlotte Hacker and Dr. Yunchuan Dai who will discuss Tibetan brown bear and snow leopard research and conservation in China. Our speakers will give a particular focus to how these carnivores co-exist with humans and varying land use patterns- highlight key conservation messages and learnings.
About the talk
Conflicts between predators and humans are multifaceted and complex, and
remain a large conservation challenge in snow leopard habitat. This talk, led by Charlotte Hacker and Dr. Yunchuan Dai, will focus on their research efforts aimed at better understanding these conflicts, with a focus on the snow leopard and Tibetan brown bear. The webinar will cover the application of how multiple scientific approaches, including molecular diet analysis, social science, and habitat modeling, are used to gain knowledge surrounding livestock loss, how attitudes towards carnivores are shaped, effective mitigation options, and areas of high conflict risk. The presentation will also highlight how these projects were supported by collaborations between organisations.
About our Speakers
Charlotte Hacker is a PhD candidate at Duquesne University and research associate with the Snow Leopard Conservancy. Her work surrounds the use of noninvasive genetic approaches to better understand the population status, genetic structure, and diet of predators, with a focus on snow leopards. Her research aims to build upon current knowledge of snow leopard ecology, taxonomy, and coexistence with humans.
Yunchuan Dai PhD, graduated from the Chinese Academy of Forestry. Currently, he is working as an Associate Research Scientist at the Institute for Ecology and Environmental Resources, Chongqing Academy of Social Sciences. His work surrounds the use of social interviews, ecological modeling and genetic approaches to better understand negative human-wildlife interactions, with a focus on Tibetan brown bears in the Sanjiangyuan region. His research aims to explore the drivers of human-bear conflicts and to propose mitigation measures and protection countermeasures based on the probable drivers and spatial risk to promote peaceful coexistence between herders and brown bears.
Date/Time: Thursday, February 25th, 2021; 8AM EST; 9PM Beijing time
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:
How to get started with SMART at a new site, and to sustain its use as a management tool
Overview of SMART use and navigation, design of the data model and data base
Overview of SMART mobile app and recommended devices
Practical use of SMART mobile-equipped smartphones for field data recording, uploading of configured models and downloading of patrol data
Basic analysis with queries and summaries, an overview of reporting
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 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 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.
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 close Wednesday, February 24th, 2021.
Please note places are limited so please do not delay in applying.
The Module 8 journey so far has taken us to introducing Conservation Tourism concepts and the need to engage communities as a central pillar to the approach. In the last session we focussed on ecological, social and economic “risks” and ways to mitigate these.
This final session will take us towards broadening our discussions to learn from examples that are underway in Pakistan, Tajikistan and Mongolia. We hope these experiences help us see the above principles in action and perhaps bring up new themes and ideas. We will then conclude the session by synthesising key principles which we feel will be useful as teams start new programs or refine on-going approaches.
“Tourism is like a fire. You can cook your food with it, but if it’s not managed, it can burn your house down.”
In areas without formal wildlife protection- tourism can be used to support local communities to set-up community based conservation programs. This can create ownership of land and increase investments in building capacity for conservation (i.e. Tajikistan)
Conservation led tourism may be challenged in areas of low human density and where communities structures are not in place (i.e. Mongolia). How can benefits be equitably distributed? How to address this challenge?
Local risk assessments is an essential part of the process and explore mitigation measures (i.e. Pakistan)
Key components of Conservation Tourism include: Inclusive conservation beyond the protected area; Community involvement; Economic benefits for the community; Equitable distribution, and the community has to making the decisions.
Why is conservation tourism important?
Creates conservation opportunities
Helps pay for ecosystem services
Can help preserve cultural heritage
Build community support for conservation
Way of empowering community and giving them ownership
Livelihoods linked to the well-being of snow leopard and it’s habitats
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)
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 .