Perceptions of carnivore management interventions in Sweden and wildlife conflicts from the perspective of the individual.

Large carnivores are known to evoke strong emotions. These can influence consensus or social interactions between people promoting wildlife conservation and people who suffer from its negative consequences. Conservation interventions that aim to prevent or mitigate carnivore attacks on domestic animals are intended to promote coexistence between people and carnivores. These however risk failing if they do not also address fear and social conflicts and emotions/perspectives of intervention end users.

SLN is pleased to invite Ann Eklund, a researcher in Environmental Psychology, to lead this webinar. Anne shares examples of conservation interventions in Sweden, present how these interventions may be perceived by the intended end users, and discusses the potential that interventions may or may not have to promote co-existence. Orjan Johansson, SLN’s Steering Committee member facilitates the discussion around this exchange of learnings. 

 

Snow leopards & Nepal

Nepal has a long history in snow leopard conservation. Rinzin Phunjok Lama from the Third Pole Conservancy will share updates of the teams ongoing snow leopard population survey in Humla, west Nepal. He will share how community conservation provides the foundation for their monitoring efforts. Rinzin and his colleagues are actively working in partnership with local stakeholders to tackle threats to snow leopards including direct killings, forest fires, illegal logging through a number of livelihood programs (including gathering honey, making traditional clothes, and running ecotourism businesses). Their work includes large scale monitoring of snow leopards and other wildlife. Join us as Rinzin shares the opportunities and challenges of achieving this multi-pronged approach.

Snow leopards & China

Qilianshan National Park, extends along the magnificent Qilian Mountains in north-eastern corner of the Tibetan Plateau. The mountains of 52,000 sq.km provide home and future refuges for snow leopard and many other wildlife. When the national park was established in 2016, an ambitious plan was announced to assess snow leopard populations across the entire mountain range. Since 2014, Dr. Yanlin Liu has been working with different teams on the snow leopard assessment in Qilian Mountains. Yanlin is currently the Science Director of the Chinese Felid Conservation Alliance and previously served as director of the snow leopard project for the ShanShui Conservation Center and a Post-Doc in the Chinese Academy of Forest. During this session he will share some of the opportunities and challenges his team is facing. He would love to hear form other SLN members and discuss large scale monitoring strategies.

Snow leopards & Kyrgyzstan

In 2021, Panthera kick-started a project with a focus in building conservation capacity and partnerships with communities in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. Since June 2021, the project was co-led by two female conservationists, Sabin Snow Leopard grantee Fatima Mannapbekova and CEPF project lead Altynai Adabaeva. Together with the Ilbirs Foundation, they’ve made introductory visits to communities in the Osh Oblast of Kyrgyzstan to establish relationships with local stakeholders and communities. Later, they led a team of surveyors to conduct the preliminary survey work via household interviews. Over 23 days, 639 interviews were conducted in 37 villages. During this SLN session, Altynai and Fatima will share the results of their work, challenges faced, and lessons learned while working in a rarely studied snow leopard habitat.

Climate risk for communities’ livelihoods & its implications for human-wildlife conflict

 

Climate change is perhaps the overarching threat to snow leopards and their habitat. Knowledge about its impact on the species, its habitat and the people who share that habitat is growing but still remains incomplete and fragmentary. As our understanding of climate change impacts changes over time the Snow Leopard Network hopes to bring together experts and resource persons together to open up perspectives and share ideas for the way forward.

Join us on this 3rd webinar with a focus on climate change as we continue to share the latest thinking and evidence that is emerging on this key issue. We are particularly pleased to welcome Dr. Eirini Skrimizea, a postdoctoral researcher who focusses on the governance of socio-ecological development and the social aspects of climate change.

 

Celebrating 20 years of the Snow Leopard Network

 

It all started back in 2002 – twenty years ago. The Snow Leopard Survival Summit brought together over 60 experts from 17 countries to develop what was to become the Snow Leopard Survival Strategy. From that meeting the Snow Leopard Network was founded with a Steering Committee of eight elected members. Many of the 2002 Summit participants, are still working in snow leopard conservation today. Now, with over 500 members and 28 organisations, the Snow Leopard Network provides a platform for an increasing number of practitioners across Asia and the world around snow leopard conservation.

We take the opportunity to look back and highlight some key moments and achievements of the Network. We are bringing together 5 distinguished Steering Committee members from different periods of time to share experiences and reflections through photographic images and their accounts. We will also use this opportunity to look to the future of the Network.

 

Towards improved parasite transmission understanding: A case study from the Indian Trans-Himalaya

 

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Munib Khanyari and Dr. Manvi Sharma. Our guests give a particular focus on how multi-use landscapes, home to both wildlife and livestock-dependent herders, require context specific approaches to addressing disease transmission risks.

During this talk we will travel to the mountains of Spiti, India. Munib and team explored gastro-intestinal nematode (GINs) infections between wild Bharal and domestic livestock. This was done through a socio-ecological lens, integrating parasite transmission modelling with field surveys and local knowledge. The team then evaluated the likely effectiveness of potential conservation and policy interventions. The main aim of the study was to provide a transferable multi-pronged approach to investigating disease transmission, in order to support herders’ livelihoods and conserve wild ungulates.

 

Tracing the Blue Eyes: The Genetic Ancestry of the Chinese Mountain Cat

 

Within China’s Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, called the rooftop of the world because it is the highest plateau on the planet, dwells the Chinese Mountain Cat or Chinese Steppe Cat (Felis silvestris bieti). This unique wild cat shares its species designation with the North African Wildcat (F. s. lybica), South African Wildcat (F. s. cafra), European Wildcat (F. s. silvestris), and the Asiatic Wildcat (F. s. ornata). We conducted surveys, collected cheek swabs, blood samples, and fecal samples for genetic analysis from cats in zoos, in the field, and in the homes of families in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau area for research. Our research provided the world’s first genetic evidence of historical and contemporary introgression events between domestic cats (F. s. catus) and F. s. bieti. The results provide genetic evidence that a substantial percentage of the genomes of some Chinese domestic cats are as much as ten percent F. s. bieti. Genome-wide analyses classified the Chinese mountain cat as a wildcat conspecific F. s. bieti, which was not involved in cat domestication of China, thus supporting a single domestication origin arising from the African wildcat (F. s. lybica). A complex hybridization scenario including ancient introgression from the Asiatic wildcat (F. s. ornata) to F. s. bieti, and contemporary gene flow between F. s. bieti and sympatric domestic cats that are likely recent Plateau arrivals, raises the prospect of disrupted wildcat genetic integrity, an issue with profound conservation implications.

Dr. Shu-Jin Luo is a Principal Investigator at the School of Life Sciences, Peking University, China. A conservation and evolutionary geneticist with a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and a postdoc at the National Cancer Institute in Maryland, Dr. Luo is leading an active research team working on the genetics of wild and domestic cats and is the lead author discovering the new Malayan tiger subspecies Panthera tigris jacksoni, finding the genetic causes of the white tiger, and elucidating the evolutionary histories of various endangered felids including the tiger, leopard cat, and the Chinese mountain cat. Dr. Luo is a member of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group since 2005 and a council member for the American Genetic Association (AGA) since 2020.

Dr. Terry Townshend joins us at facilitator and Ganga Ram Regmi, Founder and Director of Third Pole Conservancy, Nepal, as our discussant.

Watch on you tube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjGcIJjWkT4&list=PL8tq3jQmKIAq51AVcslWBakzD1dwm7xhr&index=25

Drivers of snow leopard poaching and illegal trade in Pakistan

 

Please join us in welcoming our guest speaker Fathul Bari from the University of Chitral, who shares updates on this prominent threat to snow leopards in Pakistan. This talk is followed by a discussion where we explore ideas to combat this omnipresent threat to snow leopards in greater detail, drawing upon our guests experiences and knowledge from across the world. We will have Dr. Koustubh Sharma share recent developments from GSLEP that curates a collaborative database on poaching and illegal wildlife trade in snow leopards.

Poaching and trade of snow leopards is poorly documented in Pakistan. Pakistan is however ranked for greater poaching incidents as compared to its share in the global snow leopard range. The country is also ranked among the top five countries where 90% of snow leopard poaching occurs, although seizure records for the country are low. During this talk we will discuss the dynamics and drivers of snow leopard poaching and trade from Pakistan.

 

Women and Voices from Periphery

The high Himalayan landscape in Himachal Pradesh is fascinating geography with unique biodiversity. The communities share a rich understanding of living harmoniously with nature and coexisting with wildlife around them. Deepshikha & Chemi reflect upon how women from these landscapes navigate conservation spaces, the joys, and struggles of bringing them to the forefront, and their experiences of building conservation champions and outreach networks.