Beijing 27 April 2010 – Chinese police arrested two Mongolian citizens after finding two snow leopard skins and a snow leopard skull hidden inside their jeep at a border checkpoint, state media said Tuesday.
Police in the remote Alxa League of north China’s Inner Mongolia region spent 10 hours searching the vehicle that had more than 40 hidden compartments, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
The smuggled skins and skull had an estimated value of more than 200,000 yuan (29,000 dollars) on the black market, the agency quoted Zhao Jun, an anti-smuggling officer from the regional capital, as saying.
Experts say snow leopard skins from Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan are often smuggled across the borders to be sold in China or abroad.
Only about 6,000 snow leopards are believed to remain in the wild in 12 central and southern Asian nations, according to international wildlife protection groups.
Last month, a court in China’s far western region of Xinjiang – which borders Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan – sentenced two herdsmen to long prison terms after they were convicted of trapping and killing a snow leopard.
In a major case in 2007 in Gansu province, between Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang, police seized a record 27 snow leopard skins when they investigated a report of illegal trading in endangered animal parts.
Press release from the Indianapolis Zoo, Indiana, US: April 13, 2010
INDIANAPOLIS — Graceful, powerful, supremely adapted to life at high altitudes, this animal’s most dangerous attribute is its stunningly beautiful coat of spotted fur, a coat that has brought the species near to extinction. But the snow leopard has a champion in Rodney Jackson, Ph.D., a visionary conservationist working from the Himalayas to the mountains of Mongolia and Russia, who has been named one of six finalists for the $100,000 Indianapolis Prize. Jackson, director and founder of the Snow Leopard Conservancy, applies today’s technology to the problem of disappearing snow leopards by implementing new camera-trapping and genetic surveying techniques, which ultimately gives these graceful creatures a chance of survival.
The other Prize finalists are Gerardo Ceballos, Ph.D., leader in conservation strategy;
premier elephant expert Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Ph.D.; famed cheetah researcher Laurie Marker, D. Phil., Blue Ocean Institute founder Carl Safina, Ph.D. and Amanda Vincent, Ph.D., seahorse expert with the University of British Columbia.
“The passion and energy of these six finalists are the essence of the Indianapolis Prize. Their ability to connect conservation with the community has established hope for all species, including us,” said Indianapolis Prize Chair Myrta Pulliam.
“Studying snow leopards is not a passive endeavor. These elusive creatures do not give up their secrets easily,” said Don O. Hunter, Ph.D., team leader, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. “They demand boot time, strained lungs, routine hypoxia, poor rations and the inevitable time away from loved ones. But in spite of these hardships, Rodney is among the handful of field biologists in the world who finds the experience transformative.”
Studying snow leopards is extremely challenging; Jackson has endured long, bitter winters and dangerous terrain at altitudes above 12,000 feet to track and monitor these elusive creatures, and to teach local goat herders how to protect their flocks and coexist peacefully with the big cats. Jackson’s grassroots approach to research, conservation and education is helping to transform this magnificent big cat from a potential livestock predator to an economic asset throughout much of its 12-country range.
Born in South Africa, Jackson received his bachelor’s degree and doctorate from the University of London and his master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley. He resides in the San Francisco Bay area.
The winner of the 2010 Indianapolis Prize receives $100,000, along with the Lilly Medal, to be awarded at the Indianapolis Prize Gala presented by Cummins Inc. The Gala is scheduled for September 25, 2010, at The Westin Hotel in Indianapolis.
The 2008 Indianapolis Prize was awarded to legendary field biologist George Schaller, Ph.D. Schaller’s accomplishments span decades and continents, bringing fresh focus to the plight of several endangered species – from tigers in India to gorillas in Rwanda – and inspiring others to join the crusade.
To learn more about each of the finalists, how you can support their work, and the Indianapolis Prize, please visit indianapolisprize.org.
The biennial $100,000 Indianapolis Prize represents the largest individual monetary award for animal conservation in the world and is given as an unrestricted gift to the chosen honoree. The Indianapolis Prize was initiated by the Indianapolis Zoo as a significant component of its mission to inspire local and global communities and to celebrate, protect and preserve our natural world through conservation, education and research. This award brings the world’s attention to the cause of animal conservation and the brave, talented and dedicated men and women who spend their lives saving the Earth’s endangered animal species. It was first awarded in 2006 to Dr. George Archibald, the co-founder of the International Crane Foundation and one of the world’s great field biologists. In 2008, the Indianapolis Prize went to Dr. George Schaller, the world’s preeminent field biologist and vice president of Panthera and senior conservationist for the Wildlife Conservation Society. The Eli Lilly and Company Foundation has provided funding for the Indianapolis Prize since 2006.
Nepal: Professional hunters who come to hunt the blue sheep and Himalatan tahr in Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, are forced to pay more than six-fold to local communities than their hunting fee set by the government. A hunter has to pay NPR 40,000 for a trophy blue sheep and Rs 20,000 for a Himalayan tahr to the government. Now they have to pay NPR 250,000 to locals otherwise they are not allowed to hunt desptie having a license.
March 29, 2010
The Himalayan Times
Thanks to Headlines Himalaya, March 22-31 (104), 2010 edition for the translation of this article.
DIBRUGARH, April 1 – Five kilograms of bones and a fur-covered body skin of a highly-endangered Himalayan snow leopard was seized from one Sanjib Jalan from the heart of the city on March 27.
The police led by additional SP Debashish Sharma reportedly caught Jalan redhanded while he was striking the deal with one Ranjan Tasa in a furniture shop, close to Sadar police station. Police arrested the duo and further investigation is on.
Police is yet to find out how the skin and the bones reached the city, as these rare, beautiful snow leopards are reportedly not found in any parts of the northeastern region. They are traced to the mountains of central Asia.
In India, they are found in the snowy Himalayan region. These animals are insulated by thick hair, and their wide, fur-covered feet act as natural snowshoes. These endangered cats appear to be in declining because of the demand of their fur, skin. Besides, illegal traders look for these animals as its body parts are reportedly used for traditional Chinese medicines.