New Article to our Bibliography

Please see details below, of a new article added to our Bibliography:

Title:  Ecos􏰀ystem Services in a Snow Leopard Landscape: A Comparative Analysis of Two High-elevation National Parks in the Karakoram􏰁-Pamir

Authors:  Din, J. U., Nawaz, M. A., Norma-Rashid, Y., Ahmad, F., Hussain, K., Ali, H., Adli, D., S., H.

Abstract:  The high-elevation mountain ecosystems in the Karakoram and Pamir mountain ranges encompass enchanting landscapes, harbor unique biodiversity, and are home to many indigenous pastoral societies that rely on
ecosystem services for their survival. However, our understanding of the value of ecosystem services to a household economy is limited. This information is essential in devising sustainable development strategies and thus merits consideration. In this preliminary study, we attempted to assess and compare the value of selected ecosystem services of the Khunjerab and Qurumbar National Parks (KNP and QNP) in the Karakoram–Pamir in northern Pakistan using market-based and value transfer methods. Our results indicated that the economic benefits derived from the 2 high-elevation protected areas were US$ 4.6 million (QNP) and US$ 3.8 million (KNP) per year, translating into US$ 5955 and US$ 8912 per household per year, respectively. The monetary benefits from provisioning services constituted about 93% in QNP and 48% in KNP, which vividly highlights the prominence of the economic benefits generated from the protected areas for the welfare of disadvantaged communities. Together with the regulatory and cultural services valued in this study, the perceived economic impact per household per year was 10–15 times higher than the mean household income per year. Considering the limited livelihood means and escalating poverty experienced by buffer zone communities, these values are substantial. We anticipate that communities’ dependency on resources will contribute to increased degradation of ecosystems. We propose reducing communities’ dependency on natural resources by promoting sustainable alternative livelihood options and recognizing ecosystem services in cost–benefit analyses when formulating future policies.

URL: https://snowleopardnetwork.org/bibliography/Din_et_al.pdf

New Article to the Bibliography

Please see details below, of a new article to our Bibliography:

Title:  Understanding people’s responses toward predators in the Indian Himalaya

Authors:  Bhatia, S., Suryawanshi, K., Redpath, S. M., Mishra, C

Abstract:  Research on human–wildlife interactions has largely focused on the magnitude of wildlife‐caused damage, and the patterns and correlates of human attitudes and behaviors. We assessed the role of five pathways through which various correlates potentially influence human responses toward wild animals, namely, value orientation, social interactions (i.e. social cohesion and support), dependence on resources such as agriculture and livestock, risk perception and nature of interaction with the wild animal. We specifically evaluated their influence on people’s responses toward two large carnivores, the snow leopard Panthera uncia and the wolf Canis lupus in an agropastoral landscape in the Indian Trans‐Himalaya. We found that the nature of the interaction (location, impact and length of time since an encounter or depredation event), and risk perception (cognitive and affective evaluation of the threat posed by the animal) had a significant influence on attitudes and behaviors toward the snow leopard. For wolves, risk perception and social interactions (the relationship of people with local institutions and inter‐community dynamics) were significant. Our findings underscore the importance of interventions that reduce people’s threat perceptions from carnivores, improve their connection with nature and strengthen the conservation capacity of local institutions especially in the context of wolves.

 
 

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 organized thanks to the support of the GSLEP Program. 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. 

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

New Article to the Bibliography

Please see details below, of a new article added to our Bibliography:
Title: Predicting Habitat Suitability of Snow Leopards in the Western Himalayan Mountains, India


Authors: Singh, R., Krausman, P. R., Pandey, P., Maheshwari, A., Rawal, R. S., Sharma, S., Shekhar, S.Abstract:  The population of snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is declining across their range, due to poaching, habitat fragmentation, retaliatory killing, and a decrease of wild prey species. Obtaining information on rare and cryptic predators living in remote and rugged terrain is important for making conservation and management strategies. We used the Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) ecological niche modeling framework to predict the potential habitat of snow leopards across the western Himalayan region, India. The model was developed using 34 spatial species occurrence points in the western Himalaya, and 26 parameters including, prey species distribution, temperature, precipitation, land use and land cover (LULC), slope, aspect, terrain ruggedness and altitude. Thirteen variables contributed 98.6% towards predicting the distribution of snow leopards. The area under the curve (AUC) score was high (0.994) for the training data from our model, which indicates pre- dictive ability of the model. The model predicted that there was 42432 km2 of potential habitat for snow leop- ards in the western Himalaya region. Protected status was available for 11247 km2 (26.5%), but the other 31185 km2 (73.5%) of potential habitat did not have any protected status. Thus, our approach is useful for predicting the distribution and suitable habitats and can focus field surveys in selected areas to save resources, increase survey success, and improve conservation efforts for snow leopards.

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

SLN Webinar: How the Tost mountains, Mongolia became a protected haven for snow leopards

Welcome to SLN’s final webinar for 2020! During this year we have travelled across many countries of the snow leopard range- hearing updates and latest accounts of snow leopard research and conservation. We began in China and travelled to Nepal, Mongolia, India and the Russian Federation. We look forward to another set of country updates planned for 2021. 

SLN would like to end the year on a positive and optimistic note. Today we take a detour to look back at one of snow leopard conservation remarkable achievements in the South Gobi of Mongolia- the process of establishing the Tost Nature Reserve. We will be hearing from one of Tost’s key conservation leaders- Bayara  Agvantsaaren – who has been advocating for Tost’s snow leopards for over a decade. Bayara is also a global conservation figure having won the Goldman Environmental Prizein 2019. Dr. Charudutt Mishra, the Executive Director of the Snow Leopard Trust, will be joining us as discussant. He brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and thinking about how snow leopard conservation and development can go hand in hand while addressing emerging threats to snow leopards such as mining. 

We hope to see you for this final webinar of 2020- and in doing so help highlight what is a growing number of snow leopard conservation success stories across the range.  

About the talk: This is a story of protecting the Tost Mountains from being given away under mining licenses. The story had a number of chapters and it’s share of hopes and disappointments. After a long campaign of over 7 years that included research, advocacy and political mobilization a set of mining licenses were finally revoked and Tost was designated as a Nature Reserve for snow leopards in 2018. Bayara will start by talking about the setting. She will share a first hand account of how snow leopards face a number of emerging threats in Mongolia- in a context of economic needs that continue to pressurize the modern world. Bayara will give us an inside view of her team’s experience in accomplishing this extraordinary achievement in a very challenging setting, drawing on the support and involvement of local people and media.

About our Guest: Bayara 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 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.

Date/Time: Monday; December 21st, 2020; 16:00 Ulaanbaatar Mongolia time.

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.

 

 

New Article to the Bibliography

 

Title: Implications of landscape genetics and connectivity of snow
leopard in the Nepalese Himalayas for its conservation.

Authors: Shrestha, B., Kindlmann, P.

Abstract:  The snow leopard is one of the most endangered large mammals.
Its population, already low, is declining, most likely due to the
consequences of human activity, including a reduction in the size and
number of suitable habitats. With climate change, habitat loss may
escalate, because of an upward shift in the tree line and concomitant
loss of the alpine zone, where the snow leopard lives. Migration between
suitable areas, therefore, is important because a decline in abundance
in these areas may result in inbreeding, fragmentation of populations,
reduction in genetic variation due to habitat fragmentation, loss of
connectivity, bottlenecks or genetic drift. Here we use our data
collected in Nepal to determine the areas suitable for snow leopards, by
using habitat suitability maps, and describe the genetic structure of
the snow leopard within and between these areas. We also determine the
influence of landscape features on the genetic structure of its
populations and reveal corridors connecting suitable areas. We conclude
that it is necessary to protect these natural corridors to maintain the
possibility of snow leopards’ migration between suitable areas, which
will enable gene flow between the diminishing populations and thus
maintain a viable metapopulation of snow leopards.

URL: https://snowleopardnetwork.org/bibliography/Shrestha_et_al_2020.pdf

New Articles to the Bibliography

Please find details of new articles added to the Bibliography:

Title: Patterns of human interaction with snow leopard and co-predators in the Mongolian western Altai: Current issues and perspectives

Authors: Augugliaro, C., Christe, P., Janchivlamdan, C., Baymanday, H., Zimmermann, F.

Abstract: Large carnivores can cause considerable economic damage, mainly due to livestock depredation. These conficts instigate negative attitude towards their conservation, which could in the extreme case lead to retaliatory killing. Here we focus on the snow leopard (Panthera uncia), a species of conservation concern with particularly large spatial requirements. We conducted the study in the Bayan Olgii province, one of the poorest provinces of Mongolia, where the majority of the human population are traditional herders. We conducted a survey among herders (N  261) through a semi-structured questionnaire with the aim to assess: the current and future herding practices and prevention measures, herders’ perceptions and knowledge of the environmental protection and hunting laws; the perceived livestock losses to snow leopard, wolf (Canis lupus), and wolverine (Gulo gulo), as well as to non-predatory factors; the key factors affecting livestock losses to these three large carnivores; and, finally, the attitudes towards these three large carnivores. Non-predatory causes of mortality were slightly higher than depredation cases, representing 4.5% and 4.3% of livestock holdings respectively. While no depredation of livestock was reported from wolverines, snow leopard and wolf depredation made up 0.2% and 4.1% of total livestock holdings, respectively. Herders’ attitudes towards the three large carnivores were negatively affected by the magnitude of the damages since they had a positive overall attitude towards both snow leopard and wolverine, whereas the attitude towards wolf was negative. We discuss conservation and management options to mitigate herder-snow leopard impacts. To palliate the negative consequences of the increasing trend in livestock numbers, herd size reduction should be encouraged by adding economic value to the individual livestock and/or by promoting alternative income and/or ecotourism. Furthermore, co-management between government and stakeholders would help tackle this complex problem, with herders playing a major role in the development of livestock management strategies. Traditional practices, such as regularly shifting campsites and using dogs and corrals at night, could reduce livestock losses caused by snow leopards.

URL

Title: Conservation and people: Towards an ethical code of conduct for the use of camera traps in wildlife research

Authors: Sharma, K., Fiechter, M., George, T., Young, J., Alexander, J. S., Bijoor, Suryawanshi, K., Mishra, C.

Abstract: 1. Camera trapping is a widely employed tool in wildlife research, used to estimate animal abundances, understand animal movement, assess species richness and under- stand animal behaviour. In addition to images of wild animals, research cameras often record human images, inadvertently capturing behaviours ranging from innocuous actions to potentially serious crimes.
2. With the increasing use of camera traps, there is an urgent need to reflect on how researchers should deal with human images caught on cameras. On the one hand, it is important to respect the privacy of individuals caught on cameras, while, on the other hand, there is a larger public duty to report illegal activity. This creates ethical dilemmas for researchers.
3. Here, based on our camera-trap research on snow leopards Panthera uncia, we outline a general code of conduct to help improve the practice of camera trap based research and help researchers better navigate the ethical-legal tightrope of this important research tool.

URL: https://snowleopardnetwork.org/bibliography/Sharma_et_al_2020.pdf

Snow Leopard researchers call for ethical standards for wildlife camera trapping

Snow Leopard Trust press release via Mirage News

New research published in Ecological Evidence and Solutions explores the ethical and legal responsibilities of capturing humans on wildlife camera traps.

Camera traps set out for wildlife research often capture images of people including local community members and suspected poachers. A new article, published today in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Ecological Evidence and Solutions, calls for respecting the privacy of people photographed by remote cameras, and also lays out principles for fulfilling the public responsibility of reporting illegal activity caught on wildlife cameras.