SLN Summer Exchange 2023; more details!

Summer Exchange 2023 Schedule

We are thrilled to showcase a diverse range of topics and resource persons from seven different organizations as part of our upcoming Summer Exchange. Each week, we will delve into various aspects of conservation and research, offering valuable insights and opportunities for knowledge sharing. Join us as we explore a wide array of tools, techniques, and approaches that play a crucial role in wildlife conservation and habitat protection.

To participate, please register through the following link, and we look forward to welcoming you to the event!


Register Today


Please note that all sessions take place at 14:00 pm, Bishkek time.


Tuesday, 13th June


The use of technology in conservation efforts has revolutionized data collection and analysis. The Wildlife Conservation Society will present the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART), a technology designed to monitor and protect wildlife in protected areas. Discover how SMART is applied in surveys for endangered species, such as snow leopard prey species. Learn about data collection methods, management, and analysis using the SMART survey tool.

Samantha Strindberg

is a Conservation Scientist and Wildlife Statistician at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). She specializes in wildlife survey techniques, statistical analysis, and conservation management. With a Ph.D. in Statistics focused on Wildlife Population Assessment, Samantha has extensive experience in the field.


Antony Lynam

is an ecologist and conservation scientist at WCS. With over 30 years of experience in wildlife conservation and management, he has pioneered the use of technology for conservation purposes. Antony has expertise in camera trapping, GPS navigation, and law enforcement monitoring databases.



Tuesday, 20th June

Intro to QGIS

Join our online workshop, Introduction to QGIS, and discover key tools for everyday data visualization, spatial analysis, and mapping. This concise introductory session focuses on practical skills using QGIS, a powerful geographic information system widely used in conservation and research. Engage in interactive activities and discussions to gain a solid understanding of essential QGIS tools and their applications in real-world projects.

Justine S Alexander

Justine Shanti Alexander is a Senior Conservation Scientist at the Snow Leopard Trust and the Executive Director of the Snow Leopard Network. As a snow leopard conservationist, she frequently employs QGIS in her everyday work and has conducted training sessions on the software for field teams, including protected area staff, who have found the acquired skills highly useful for their conservation efforts.

Tuesday, 27th June

AI Camera Trap Management

Join us for an online workshop where the ShanShui Conservation team will introduce their newly developed software designed to streamline camera trap image processing. This software focuses on efficiently removing images that do not capture any animals and simplifying the creation of Excel sheets with the corresponding time and date information. While the workshop will not cover artificial intelligence for species or individual identification, it will provide valuable insights into the team’s ongoing efforts to develop software tools that will enhance camera trap data analysis in the future.

Wei Chunyue

started her journey in wildlife conservation from camera trap data processing and analysis working with Shan Shui Conservation Center. She then participated in snow leopard monitoring and conservation work on the Tibetan Plateau. Chunyue takes strong interests in applying technology tools to facilitate camera trap data management. Chunyue holds a BSc. in Environmental Engineering from Tsinghua University and a MSc. in Environmental Engineering from Stanford University.

Dong Zhengyi

has 6 years of experience in wildlife conservation on the Tibetan Plateau. He participated in many snow leopard surveys in the southeastern part of the Plateau. He is now dedicated to enhancing wildlife monitoring with cutting-edge technology and promoting the integration of biodiversity data across various fields. Zhengyi holds a BSc. in Biology Science from Peking University and a MSc. in Conservation Biology from Lund University.

Thursday, 06th July

Intro to Occupancy and SCR methods

Explore the PAWS toolbox, focusing on occupancy models and spatial capture-recapture (SCR) methods. Understand survey design, data collection, management, and analysis for assessing snow leopard distribution and abundance. Gain insights into interpreting and communicating results effectively.

Ian Durbach

is an ecological statistician with expertise in wildlife surveys. He has supported snow leopard camera trap surveys and provided design and analysis assistance across the PAWS network.




Koustubh Sharma

is an experienced wildlife conservationist and the International Coordinator of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program. With more than 20 years of experience, he coordinates snow leopard research and conservation efforts.




Thursday, 13th July

Community led-conservation through a network of local champions

Learn about community-led conservation and the importance of building working relationships and trust with local communities. Deepshikha Sharma from the Nature Conservation Foundation – SLT India program will share experiences, challenges, and lessons learned in working with community champions in the trans-Himalayan mountains of India.

Deepshikha Sharma

Deepshikha Sharma is actively involved in community-led conservation in snow leopard habitats in Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh. She focuses on reducing human-wildlife conflict and raising awareness among local communities.

Thursday, 20th July

Data collection and visualization

This session explores the best practices for designing questionnaires and utilizing the data collection tool KoBoToolbox. Discover how to create well-structured surveys and efficiently collect data. Additionally, explore Looker, a powerful data analytics platform, and learn how to create interactive dashboards.

Altynai Adabaeva

is a freelancer specializing in environmental data analytics. She has extensive experience in conducting surveys and using data analysis for research and conservation projects.

Thursday, 27th July

Nature Education

Nature education plays a vital role in conservation efforts. This workshop highlights the theories and practices from education, ecology, and psychology that can be applied to design effective nature education projects. Engage in interactive discussions and activities to learn how to create content and resources that foster a deep connection with nature.

Vena Kapoor

founder of Nature Classrooms, collaborates with primary school teachers and educators, offering training workshops and co-developing nature learning activities. With expertise in conservation leadership and ecology, Vena holds an MPhil from the University of Cambridge and a Masters in Ecology from the University of Pondicherry.


Thank you to all the organizations and Resource Persons supporting the Summer Exchange!


Week 1: Mountain Ungulates

Hosted by Dr. Munib Khanyari 

Asia’s mountain ungulates play an important role in maintaining ecosystems by influencing vegetation structure and nutrient cycling. There is a need for more information about the population status of these ungulates, which carries special significance in the protection of the snow leopard across its range. This session will explore a range of mountain ungulate monitoring and conservation approaches. Dr. Munib Khanyari will facilitate the session. He works with the Nature Conservation Foundation as a Program Manager. He works primarily across the Trans-Himalayan region of India, aiming to build positive human-nature relationships.


Week 2: Climate Change 

Dr. Eirini Skrimizea

Participatory climate risk assessment for integrating climate change considerations into development and conservation efforts. Climate risk assessments allow to understand climate risk and vulnerabilities, and can support in identifying and selecting adaptation strategies aligned with development goals and conservation efforts. The meaningful inclusion of the communities in the process is necessary in order to obtain valuable information, raise awareness and ensure adaptation actions that are relevant to the local contexts. In this module these issues and more will be discussed. Participants will be introduced to basic climate change related concepts, and exposed – through an interactive exercise – to a method for participatory climate risk assessment based on the ‘Climate impact Chains’ analytical approach. The module will draw on the example of participatory climate risk assessments in Kyrgyzstan showing how these integrated considerations on human-wildlife conflict with focus on snow leopards. Dr. Eirini Skrimizea  will facilitate the session. Eirini Skrimizea is a postdoctoral researcher with a background in planning and sustainability research. She has expertise on governance of socio-ecological development and the social aspects of climate change in the Global North and South.

Week 3: Participatory methods/right-based approaches to research and conservation

Dr. Sahil Nijhawan

Significant focus has been placed on community-based conservation in recent decades. However, much purported community-based conservation research and practice continues to be top-down, where local people are seen as beneficiaries and stakeholders, but not right-holders. In this workshop, using case studies, we will explore efforts to make conservation research and practice more equitable, ethical and horizontal. We will discuss the philosophy, practice and challenges of conducting rights-based and truly collaborative conservation. Dr. Sahil Nijhawan is an interdisciplinary conservation anthropologist who has worked on human-wildlife relations across Latin America, Southern Africa and India. For the past decade, he has worked alongside the indigenous Idu Mishmi people of Arunachal Pradesh (India) – a journey that began with his doctoral research on socio-cultural, ecological and political relations between the Idu Mishmi and tigers. He is now part of local teams in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland working on a range of locally-led initiatives towards rights-based bio-cultural conservation and research. 

The recording of this session is available on request.

Week 4: Community Conservation 

Ajay Bijoor and Deepshikha Sharma

Engaging and partnering with such local communities is critical to the success of conservation efforts. The PARTNERS principles offer a framework to consciously and effectively engage communities. This approach of eight broad principles can offer support to not only conservationists but anyone who is engaging with communities. In this session, we will explore these principles briefly and understand their working through case-studies. Ajay Bijoor and Deepshikha Sharma will facilitate the Session. Ajay has been working with local communities and government agencies to plan and implement conservation action in the high-elevation landscapes of India for the past 7 years. He has also been exploring the intersection of conservation with local knowledge systems, resource management, and local and global economy. Deepshikha has been facilitating community led conservation in snow leopard habitat in Himachal Pradesh & Ladakh. She is working towards raising awareness and reducing losses faced by local communities due to wildlife. She is also working towards bringing local women to the forefront of conservation in the landscape.

Week 5: Identify Carnivore Signs 


Dr. Orjan Johansson + Dr. Koustubh Sharma

Carnivores leave behind signs- such as tracks, droppings, sprays and carcasses. They also can be heard- making unique sounds. The team will discuss how researchers can distinguish between the unique signs of felids (snow leopards, lynx etc.) and canids (wolves, feral dogs, red foxes). They will share strategies and potential pitfalls to look out for. Dr. Orjan Johansson and Dr. Koustubh Sharma will lead the session. Orjan is a Senior Scientist for the Snow Leopard Trust and has supported the Long Term Ecological Program in Mongolia for over a decade. Kuban is the Director of the Snow Leopard Foundation Kyrgyzstan. 

Week 6: Camera traps in the field 

Dr. Koustubh Sharma & Purevjav Lkhagvajav (Pujii) 

Camera traps are an important tool for snow leopard research and conservation. In this session we will share tips on best practices for setting up camera traps in the mountains for specific purposes and optimal device settings. The team will discuss camera trap types, how to effectively choose locations, strategies to improve battery life, lighting and safety of the equipment. The team will also discuss how one can improve the quality of captures for the identification of snow leopard individuals. In this interactive workshop, participants will be welcome to share their ideas, experiences and ask specific questions. Dr. Koustubh Sharma & Purevjav Lkhagvajav (Pujii) will lead this session. Koustubh is the Assistant Director of Conservation Policy and Partnerships with the Snow Leopard Trust and the International Coordinator with the GSLEP Program. He is closely involved with the implementation of the Population Assessment of the World’s Snow Leopard (PAWS). Pujii is the Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation Mongolia’s Research and Monitoring Manager. She works closely with rangers across Mongolia, and has been supporting systematic camera trapping across thousands of square kilometers for more than a decade.