The Snow Leopard Conservancy announces a special award for Rinchen Wangchuk

Award for Outstanding Achievements in Community-Based Snow Leopard Conservation

Presented to
Director, Snow Leopard Conservancy-India Trust

In recognition of outstanding achievements in community-based snow leopard conservation


March 2011

Rinchen Wangchuk, Founder-Director of the Snow Leopard Conservancy–India Trust, has received an Award for Outstanding Achievements in Community-Based Snow Leopard Conservation. This award was presented to Rinchen by the Snow Leopard Conservancy U.S., to honor Rinchen’s pioneering role in the development of community-based conservation initiatives that are shifting local herders’ perception of the snow leopard from a predatory pest to be trapped or poisoned for killing their livestock to a valued asset worth more alive than dead.

Mark Coreth, master sculptor of animals in motion, donated this “field study,” which he created in 2005, immediately after seeing the snow leopard in Hemis National Park during a visit with Rinchen and Rodney Jackson. The base for the sculpture was crafted from Indian mahogany by Snow Leopard Conservancy U.S. volunteer Roger Perso. This award also included a grant of $20,000, provided by generous donors.

For more than a decade Rinchen has forged enduring partnerships with local communities in the Ladakh, Zanskar, and Nubra regions of northern India. He has brought these communities to the forefront of efforts to protect snow leopards—which may number less than 5,000 across twelve countries of Central and South Asia—and the blue sheep, argali and ibex on which the cats depend. Rinchen has worked with livestock herders to predator-proof their nighttime corrals, and has trained local men and women in income generation skills that are intrinsically linked with snow leopard conservation. He has spearheaded the creation of a conservation education program, blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, for children throughout the region.

Perhaps Rinchen’s greatest achievement has been his role in promoting sustainable rural tourism, including the award-winning Himalayan Homestay program. This highly acclaimed UNESCO-sponsored project was launched in 2003, and has catalyzed similar community-driven initiatives in Tajikistan, Pakistan and Mongolia. The Leh-based SLC-India Trust grew out of a partnership with the Snow Leopard Conservancy U.S., led by Rodney Jackson, and now operates as an independent organization devoted to community-based wildlife conservation.

Rinchen’s commitment to the welfare of wildlife and rural people grew naturally from his own Ladakhi village upbringing, and his experiences as a mountaineer and nature tour guide. His expertise was honed by special training in community-based tourism from The Mountain Institute and Thailand’s Regional Community Forestry Training Center for Asia and the Pacific. Rinchen also assisted researchers in developing the Earthwatch program, “Land of the Snow Leopard.” He has served as a naturalist and assistant on several documentaries filmed in Hemis National Park, including the widely acclaimed “Silent Roar: Searching for the Snow Leopard.”

Please join us in honoring Rinchen for his passion and commitment to snow leopard conservation.

SLN member Tom McCarthy honored by Mongolian government

28 October 2010
Snow leopard researcher and conservationist, Dr. Tom McCarthy, was recently recognized by the Mongolian government for his long-term contribution to wildlife science in that country. At a ceremony in the office of the President, he was awarded the State of Mongolia Friendship Medal, the highest award given by the Mongolian government to a non-Mongolian to recognize outstanding contributions to Mongolia and its people. Tom started working in Mongolia in 1993 when George Schaller selected him to lead a snow leopard study in the Altai Mountains. As a Ph.D. student with the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, he spent the next 6 years studying snow leopards, Gobi brown bears and wild Bactrian camels in and around the Great Gobi National Park. His research into livestock-snow leopard conflicts led to the establishment of Snow Leopard Enterprises, one of the most successful community-based conservation programs for the species. From 2000 – 2009 he led the Snow Leopard Trust’s programs in Mongolia, and currently as Panthera’s Executive Director of Snow Leopard Programs he co-manages a long-term ecological study of snow leopards in Mongolia’s South Gobi Province. Speaking of the award Tom stated, “I have just been very fortunate to work alongside some of Mongolia’s most dedicated scientists and conservationists for nearly two decades. It is very humbling to receive this award for doing something I have always considered to be a privilege.”

More on the award can be found at:

Dr. Ablimit Abdukadir nominated for the prestigious Wildlife Conservation Society International “Chinese Frontier Wildlife Bodyguard Award”


On December 13, 2008, WCS International organized a present reward ceremony of “the Chinese Frontier Wildlife Bodyguard Award” take place Beijing, the big hall of literature information center of Chinese Academy of Science. Ablimit AbdukadirIUCN/CSG and SLN member, Professor of the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of Science honored to obtained “the Chinese Frontier Wildlife Bodyguard Award” and prize. Chinese major wildlife conservation cabinets and leaders came from to attend the award ceremony such the State Forestry Bureau, the State Environmental Protection Department, the State Natural Ecology Protection Department, the Chinese Environment Culture Promotion Agency, the Forest Police Staff at State Forestry Bureau, the CITES Office at Beijing, People’s Republic of China. And to Dong Hongyu (Heilongjiang, Harbin), Ablimit Abdukadir (Xinjiang CAS, Urumqi),Liu Jinxu (Yunnan, Xishuangbanna), Qiangba Ceren (Tibet, Ali district),Wang Lifan (Guangxi, Guilin) so on 12 winners and comes from Bureau and Sub-bureau of the Anti-smuggle Inner Mongolian Customhouse, the Bureau Second Customs of Anti-smuggle ant-poaching Tibet, Administrative Bureau of the Xishuangbanna Dai Nationality Autonomous Region’ State-level Nature Protected Area, the CITES Office at Kunming and Jilin province and the People’s Liberation Army 65811 and so on are honored to obtained the collective represents award.

This award “the Chinese Frontier Wildlife Bodyguard” item, has been through repeatedly the application, the network public shows with the voting, the expert appraisal and so on a series of links, is domestic first in view of the Chinese frontier area wild biological shield and the law enforcement award item. This award item is for the purpose of driving positively participates in the personnel in the Chinese frontier area who and supports the wild biological law enforcement work, conservation any wildlife, the commendation attacks the robber to hunt for, the control wild biology transnational illegal trade, makes the important contribution for the China wild biological shield the collective and individual, promotes the frontier area correlation personnel in the wild biological shield and the law enforcement work exchange, enhances the wild biological shield and law enforcement ability. On December 13, altogether have 12 prizes to represent the frontier area which works from them to come to Beijing, the attendance award ceremony. At the award ceremony, the scene audience and the honored guest understands the bodyguards in the remote frontier area protection wild animal’s touching fact, also deeply their this kind of selfless offer mental move. At the award ceremony, Mr. Dong Zhiyong, former vice-minister of Ministry of Forestry, the People’s Republic of China; Mr. Dong Zhi, office Director of the endangered species import and export; Mr.Chen Ze, Deputy Secretary-General Assistant of the Chinese Environment Culture Promotion agency; Mrs. Zhang Ping, Forest Police staff Assistant at State Forestry Bureau Commissioner and all other department heads with countryside Chinese representative as the promulgation honored guest to promulgate and to make the speech. In addition, the WCS International chief – scientist Dr. George B. Schaller also attended this award ceremony, has carried on the introduction to the current international on frontier area protection of wild animals and the law enforcement situation.   

Xinjiang is an typical area biggest provincial in China, also is a country boundary line longest provincial area, it with Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India is neighboring, the boundary line long amounts to 5600 kilometers, the wild animal resources are rich, approximately 700 species of wild vertebrate and 3000 species of vascular plants, in which very multiple wants the species to include especially “National Key Protection Wild animal Name list” and the listed into CITES appendix as endangered wild fauna and flora. Xinjiang has 27 passes which opens with the neighboring country with two kind of ports continental and air, including the Alataw port, the Kashigar aviation port, Kashigar Khonjirab pass, the Urumqi international and domestic port, the Chuguchak international border trade city port and so on many differences channel-like traffic pass and ports. Because with peripheral aspects and so on country and area in language and writing, religious belief, life custom is extremely close, Xinjiang has the advantageous superiority in the frontier trade development, and also be same advantageous space in the frontier animal smuggling, poaching and transiting illegal. As a result of is unceasing with the Xinjiang neighboring many country chaos caused by war, the country and the international laws and regulations are quite imperfect, these national biological shield is at the anarchy, many unlawful element uses “the green channel” carries on is endangered species smuggling and the poaching for. In Xinjiang, some unlawful elements and overseas trade the smuggling wild animal and the product criminal offender collude with, use each kind of channel, the tool and the method capture and kill the wild animal, the purchase, the sale, the transportation, the smuggling wild animal and the product, non-card import and export wild animals and plants for example a live animal or body, horns, skin, bone, skeletons of saiga Antelope, saker Falcon, Gazelle, Tiger, Snow Leopard, Bear, Deer, Argali Sheep, Ibex, Turtles, Wolf, Fox, Marmot etc. These behaviors have become the most main threatened which the Xinjiang frontier area wild animal, causes the wild biological shield work to be more complex and to be difficult. Under this situation and the background, Professor Ablimit Abdukadir be invite a special expert for to determine, identify and sorting of different species which smuggled, poached and threatened illegal in countryside and frontier area of western China by CITES of Beijing and Urumqi, China, Chinese Endangered Species Conservation Scientific Committee, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region forest public security and China is close to managed in surveillance, the law enforcement and department responsible for the work’s and so on Urumqi office association examines expert and the biological species appraisal expert, participates in the attack smuggling illegal act with his unique way. For many years, Ablimit Abdukadir has assisted Xinjiang all levels of wildlife conservation departments and so on control section, forest public security as well as customs industry and commerce develops coordinated in every way works, to investigates the wild animal and the wild animal product which as well as treats requests authorization carries on the appraisal. From 2001 to 2008, the protection of wild animals law enforcement association which he participation examines the involved criminal case to have 50, in which involved the living specimen animal, the animal organ, the fur, the angle, even was the small pill and so on.

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