Module 10: Conservation Communication

The Snow Leopard Network (SLN) and Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP) are pleased to launch a Snow Leopard Conservation Communication Module. This module seeks to bring together resource persons from around the snow leopard range and wider world, to discuss approaches for communications regarding the conservation of snow leopards. The focus in this instance will be on effective communications with decision makers, journalists, donors and the general public.  

About the module

Communications may mean different things to different people. In the introductory session, we will to start by encouraging you to ask yourself some of the fundamental questions about communication: What are you trying to achieve, who are you trying to reach and why, and what you would like your audience to do as a result of your attempt at communicating. 

We will then share knowledge and stimulate conversations about various communications strategies and techniques; i.e.,discuss how to identify and reach your target audiences and how to maximise the communications channels that are available to you; raise questions about ethics and talk about messaging and storytelling.

Some of the questions we hope to discuss during the module include: how can we use communications to inspire action? How do we use images effectively and ethically? How do we ensure that the language we use is inclusive and empowering? How do we shift narratives about conservation from problems to solutions, (and why is this shift important)? How do we report back to donors and funding partners in a way that inspires them to continue their support? We are also keen to make this module as useful as possible – so please share your priorities when you sign up for the module and we will try to accommodate them to the best of our abilities.

This Module is aimed at practitioners working in the field of communicating conservation. We hope that the sessions will be interactive and draw upon participants’ experiences and ideas. It will also help shape future thinking and practice around communication for conservation. The Snow Leopard Network is partnering with GSLEP to offer this module and hopes to use the outcomes as a foundation for future initiatives.

Outline Schedule

Session 1: Introduction to Communications – what, why, how, to whom? 

Session 2: The Photographic Image, Ethics & Storytelling

Session 3: Communications & Advocacy

Session 4: Communicating solutions & towards a toolkit

Photo by Behzad Larry

Meet the Resource Team

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.

Dr. Bermet Tursunkulova is the Director of Development and Associate Professor in Political Science at the American University in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. She is also a part-time PR and Fundraising Consultant for SLT/SLKF. She holds a PhD in Political Science, she is a former Advisor to the Prime-Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Julia Migne is the Director of Conservation Optimism, a global community dedicated to sharing stories and resources to empower people from all backgrounds to make a positive impact for wildlife and nature. She specialises in science communication and outreach and loves sharing conservation success stories. Julia is also the co-founder of the international media platform INKLINE.

Dr. Koustubh Sharma is the International Coordinator of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program and a Senior Regional Ecologist with the Snow Leopard Trust. He holds a PhD in Wildlife Zoology from Mumbai University, and a Masters degree in Physics. He is particularly passionate about communicating science and conservation with the public. 

Matthias Fiechter is a Media & Communications Officer at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), where he works primarily with news and science journalists to get nature conservation stories covered in the press. Before, Matt worked for 7 years as the Communications Manager at Snow Leopard Trust, where he produced communications content for audiences including donors, supporters and partners.

Prasenjeet Yadav is a molecular ecologist turned National Geographic Photographer focusing on wildlife and science stories. Early in his scientific career, he realized that his real passion lay in storytelling. He now combines his experience in research with his photography skills to popularize ecological and conservation sciences in the wider society. He is currently working on a story for National Geographic Magazine in Indian Himalayas.

This module will be supported by SLN and GSLEP’s Justine Shanti Alexander, Ranjini Murali and Rakhee Karumbaya.

Criteria for participation

  • Snow Leopard Network Members
  • Non Snow Leopard Network Members are also encouraged to apply
  • Confirmed availability to attend all the four online seminars of a given module
  • Number of participants is limited to 20-30

Planned Schedule

  • 2 hour online Zoom Seminars take place every Wednesday of the month, April 2021 (4 Seminars; March 31st, April 7th, 14th, 21st 2021) 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
  • Please note that all sessions will be recorded and later featured on the SLN website. If you have concerns about this please let us know. 


  • Applications close Wednesday, March 24th, 2021. 
  • Please note places are limited so please do not delay in applying.
  • Applications Closed

Snow leopards in Nepal: Satellite Telemetry Update

WWF Nepal/Rocky Prajapati
WWF Nepal/Rocky Prajapati

This webinar shares the latest preliminary findings on collared snow leopards in Nepal. SLN aims to continue to highlight the multiple approaches teams across the range are using to study and conserve snow leopard populations. Nepal was the first country to conduct telemetry work on snow leopards back in early 1980s. This Country Update captures how telemetry continues to be used in the country, now using GPS technology. Our speakers also highlight how telemetry results are being linked to community knowledge and conservation action on the ground. 

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 be joining us as facilitator. Do join us for this interesting Webinar and the discussion that follows- your views will enrich the session!

WWF Nepal/Rocky Prajapati

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 will present 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 will 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 will describe 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.

About our speakers

WWF Nepal/Rocky Prajapati

Samundra Subba is currently working as a Research Officer at WWF Nepal. He has a Master’s degree in Conservation Biology from Lund University, Sweden, and has been working in Nepalese landscape researching and conserving large carnivores – snow leopard and tiger, over the past eight years. During his tenure with WWF, Samundra has supported numerous research interventions on these carnivores, including satellite telemetry of snow leopards in east and west Nepal.

WWF Nepal/Rocky Prajapati

Sheren Shrestha is Senior Program Officer with the Wildlife Programs of WWF Nepal. He has managed the snow leopard conservation program for WWF Nepal since 2016. He has a post-graduate degree in Environmental Sciences, and has previously worked with two premier wildlife organizations in India. His special interest includes human-wildlife conflict management focusing on strengthening community awareness and mobilization. He enjoys writing, traveling, photography, singing-songwriting and making video documentaries on conservation and social issues.

Date/Time: March 17th 2021; 6:30 PM Kathmandu, Nepal

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 Webinar.
  • 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. 
WWF Nepal/Rocky Prajapati

Session 4: Using SMART Ecological Records to design surveys and analyse data

Module 9: Session 4

Using SMART Ecological Records to design surveys and analyse data

This Session introduces the SMART ecological records plug in for designing surveys, collecting data using handheld devices, and managing data for export to statistical programs (e.g. DISTANCE)

Session 4.1: Introduction to SMART Ecological Records

Session 4.2: Questions & Answers

New Article to the Bibliography

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.


Session 5: Использование программы SMART (Инструмент пространственного мониторинга и отчетности) для управления и мониторинга популяции ирбиса

Module 9: Session 5

Snow Leopard Network рада представить своего партнера – Общество сохранения диких животных (WCS) – и предложить вашему вниманию данный семинар, первый на русском языке. Модуль 9 знакомит участников с инструментами для мониторинга популяций диких животных и потенциальных угроз в местах обитания ирбиса. Присоединяйтесь к нам!

О семинаре

Программа SMART (Инструмент пространственного мониторинга и отчетности) быстро стала мировым стандартом в управлении и мониторинге охраны территорий. В настоящее время программа SMART используется на более чем 900 охраняемых территориях в 60 странах по всему миру. Однако в ареале ирбиса данная программа пока применяется ограниченно. Программа SMART использует данные патрулирования в циклах управления, цель которых – поэтапное повышение эффективности рейдов. Программа может помочь в решении проблем, связанных с угрозами ирбису, его видам-жертвам и местообитаниям, а также обеспечить его сохранение. 

Основная цель данного семинара – подробно рассказать о том, как работает программа SMART в контексте адаптивного управления в ареале ирбиса. Основное внимание будет уделено процессу реализации программы на местах (тренинги, встречи, логистика и техническая поддержка).

Михил Хётте из российской программы Общества сохранения диких животных (WCS) будет вести семинар на русском языке и у вас будет время для обсуждений и вопросов.

Михил Хётте

Михил имеет степень магистра в экономике и управлении бизнесом, которую он получил в университете Амстердама. Он работал в Голландии в качестве консультанта по вопросам управления в компаниях KMPG и Deloitte & Touche. С 1996 г. он принимает участие в природоохранных проектах на Дальнем Востоке России, с 1997 г. является директором Tigris Foundation (голландская НКО, созданная Михилом в целях сохранения дальневосточного леопарда и амурского тигра), в 2003-2008 гг. – сотрудник Лондонского зоологического общества. С 2006 г. в рамках российской программы Общества сохранения диких животных (WCS) занимается разработкой и внедрением программы SMART (ранее – MIST) для мониторинга и адаптивного управления рейдами. Специалисты WCS оказали содействие во внедрении программы SMART на 7 федеральных ООПТ в ареале амурского тигра и одном управлении охотнадзора на Дальнем Востоке России.

С 2016 г. Михил также работает над проектами SMART в Центральной Азии. Он помогал разрабатывать и внедрять SMART для проведения патрулирования под руководством WCS в ООПТ, созданной для охраны ирбиса в районе Вахан в Афганистане. В 2018 г. Михил провел 5-дневный семинар, посвященный знакомству с программой SMART, для Казахстанской ассоциации сохранения биоразнообразия и других ООПТ и природоохранных организаций. В том же году Михил вместе с Тони Линамом провел 3-дневный ознакомительный семинар по программе SMART в Бишкеке для специалистов из Киргизии, Узбекистана и Монголии. С 2019 г. он оказывает содействие Программе развития ООН и ее партнерам в Узбекистане во внедрении программы SMART на двух пилотных территориях в ареале ирбиса – Чаткальском и Гиссарском заповедниках. Если будет получено финансирование, в этом году Михил начнет свою работу над пилотным проектом по внедрению программы SMART в двух заповедниках в Киргизии, где обитает ирбис.

Session 5.1: Использование программы SMART

Session 1: Tourism as a Conservation Tool?

Module 8: Session 1

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

Session 1.3: Conservation Tourism Plenary Discussion


  • 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.

Snow leopard & Tibetan brown bear conservation and research


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.   


Session 2: Community Conservation & Tourism

Module 8: Session 2

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

Download the full highlight summary HERE.

Panthera Sabin snow leopard grants program announcement

 Hello All,

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. 

All the best, 

-Byron Weckworth

Byron Weckworth | Director, Snow Leopard Program; Director, Conservation Genetics
Visit us online at


Session 3: Risks and Opportunities

Module 8: Session 3

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.
    • Assessing potential of snow leopard tourism at a regional level.
    • Developing a mechanism to address failure of systems and/or stakeholders.