Tech for wildlife: The role AI and technology can play in nature conservation

In this webinar hosted by the Snow Leopard Network, Peter van Lunteren’s presentation will explore the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in nature conservation, specifically emphasizing its potential applications in advancing Snow Leopard conservation effortsPeter will examine the current state of AI capabilities and discuss how conservationists can leverage automation and computer vision to enhance efficiency in their work. The focus will be on using AI for data analysis, real-time audio, and image processing in remote areas. Technologies such as camera traps, GPS collar tracking, and bioacoustic monitoring will be discussed. By addressing the current possibilities and challenges, Peter aims to shed light on how AI can be a powerful ally in the ongoing efforts to protect and preserve Snow Leopards and their habitats.


 

 

Empowering Communities for Snow Leopard Conservation with CRAs

 

This webinar highlights the importance of community-led conservation in safeguarding the snow leopard and its habitat. Through generations, local communities and indigenous people have played a crucial role in preserving the environment, and their traditional practices and knowledge can greatly contribute to the protection of natural resources and biodiversity. This webinar delves into community-based approaches to conservation and showcase the Community Responsible Area (CRA) model being implemented in Mongolia. By exploring this model, we can explore strategies to protect threatened species such as the snow leopard while also supporting sustainable livelihoods for local people.

The webinar focuses on an innovative approach to conserving the natural resources of Mongolia and protecting its wildlife, including the elusive snow leopard. Since 2009, the Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation has been working to secure the legal rights of communities to manage their pastoral land and sustainably use its resources. This involves mapping and delineating Community Responsible Areas (CRAs) based on traditional resource use and grazing patterns. The CRAs are managed through local communities with legal entities, and their aim is to promote sustainable pasture management, secure legal land rights, and support livelihood-linked conservation activities. The webinar showcases the progress made in implementing the CRA approach across Mongolia and shares inspiring community stories that demonstrate the approach’s effectiveness.

 

What’s behind a Snow Leopards Spots? A One Health Approach to investigate emerging disease in the iconic Snow Leopard-Panthera uncia

 

Welcome to our first Webinar of 2024 in which we are happy to host Dr. Carol Esson.

In this talk today, Carol will be presenting the key questions and outcomes of her PhD research project on Snow Leopards in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia.

Emerging wildlife diseases are a growing concern across the world.  They have wide-spread and diverse ramifications, including effects on and interactions between, endangered species, production animals, human health and livelihoods (Smith et al. 2009).  In the future, successful disease control will have to reach across the traditional boundaries of conservation, human health and production animal diseases to achieve integrated disease assessment and control programs.

A One Health Approach was utilised to investigate disease threats to an endangered species in a remote location. Carol will talk about the rationale behind the research project design, the techniques used, the analysis and outcomes and how the results should lead to an improved understanding of how we can manage these populations from any future disease threats. These techniques we employ will be able to be extrapolated to other threatened species in remote locations.


 

Climate Change Mitigation and Snow Leopard Conservation- Community led Initiatives in Kyrgyzstan

Join us for a webinar that explores the interconnection between climate change, cultural heritage, and the conservation of the snow leopard in Kyrgyzstan. This event features a series of presentations from our guests, each dedicated to sustainability, biodiversity conservation, and community development. Our speakers from the Rural Development Fund (RDF), a public foundation dedicated to environmental preservation and community development, will explore how community-led efforts and traditional knowledge can play a pivotal role in both snow leopard conservation and climate change mitigation. Each project presented exemplifies the power of local engagement and cooperation in safeguarding the unique biodiversity of Kyrgyzstan’s landscapes.

We are also delighted to share that the Rural Development Fund has been honoured with the prestigious Jeonju International Award for the Promotion of Intangible Cultural Heritage and are excited to celebrate this remarkable achievement during the upcoming webinar.

 

 

Snow Leopards and Tibetan Herders: Coexistence from a Cultural Perspective

 

Conservationists worldwide are making efforts to minimize human-wildlife conflicts for coexistence. Despite its varying definitions, coexistence generally requires humans to sustainably share landscapes and resources with wildlife. This is a grand objective that presents significant challenges. It requires more than scientific evidence, technological innovation, market efficiency, and policy adjustment, but also transformation in our mental map of reality, ways of knowing, and values. Yufang Gao’s interdisciplinary scholarship aims to develop a holistic understanding of the ecological, sociopolitical, and cultural dimensions of human-wildlife coexistence across multiple spatiotemporal scales and institutional contexts in China and worldwide. In this talk, he will use Tibetan traditional knowledge about snow leopards and other large carnivores to discuss the role of culture in shaping local imagination as to the ends, means, and contexts of coexistence and its implication for conservation.

 

 

Cluster studies – What are they and what can we learn from them?

Join us for a webinar that delves into the fascinating world of cluster studies in snow leopard research. We will explore the realm of spatial ecology and its broader implications for understanding the species. Our guest, Gustaf Samelius, Assistant Director of Science for the Snow Leopard Trust, will join us to share a recent update on the collation of detailed cluster studies of snow leopards in the South Gobi, Mongolia. These studies, conducted in collaboration with the Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation, are part of the Long-Term Ecological Study, which has been active for over 13 years. Gustaf will discuss how his time in the Gobi during spring 2023 has provided a more detailed understanding of the species.

GPS-collars are a common way to study spatial ecology but GPS-collars can also teach us about other aspects of ecology such as foraging patterns and reproductive biology. During this seminar, Gustaf will show us how they use what is called cluster studies (which is visiting of the places where collared animals stop for extended periods) to study predation patterns of collared snow leopards in southern Mongolia. Gustaf will also show us how they are also starting to use cluster studies to learn more about where the collared cats are resting and how this will help us understand how the cats are using the mountains and why they are limited to mountains.

 

Ensuring a future for Kenya’s lions & other large carnivores through community-led conservation

 

Welcome to our next SLN webinar where we’re excited to introduce you to Ewaso Lions, a Kenya-based conservation organization working to promote coexistence between people and wildlife, specifically large carnivores such as lions. In an upcoming presentation, Ewaso Lions’ Founder & Executive Director, Shivani Bhalla, and Director of Impact and Operations, Toby Otieno, will share how their various community programs with pastoralist communities seek to build local agency and decision-making in carnivore conservation and promote human-carnivore coexistence. Ewaso Lions firmly believes that community-led conservation efforts are key to the success of lion conservation.

Using ranger-based monitoring data for predicting poaching pressure

The webinar will focus on the pressing issue of illegal hunting and its impact on large herbivores, specifically mountain ungulates. Despite increased conservation efforts, many species are still at risk of extinction, and more effective interventions are needed. Our speaker, Arash Ghoddousi, will share his research on analysing ranger-based monitoring data to inform adaptive management. He will present a case study from Golestan National Park, where they identified the main determinants of illegal hunting, such as accessibility, law enforcement, and prey availability. Our discussant, Munib Khanyari, will also share his insights on human-nature relationships in the Trans-Himalayan region of India.

 

Understanding geographies of threat

 

The world’s biodiversity face persistent and changing threats, resulting in degradation of habitats and declines in species populations. Threats are dynamic factors that cause decline or destruction of habitat, population size, or biodiversity in any site of interest. Conducting a comprehensive analysis of threats can be more challenging than it may first appears. Threats can be direct, indirect, local or globally driven and they often vary over time with new threats emerging. The Snow Leopard Network is delighted to invite you to the webinar entitled “Understanding the geographies of Threat”. Our guest Alfredo Romero-Muñoz, from the Humboldt University, Berlin, will share how his team is analysing the impact of threats to wildlife and habitats across the Gran Chaco region in South America. The talk will be facilitated by Dr. Gustaf Samelius, followed by a discussion, with our discussant Dr. Ranjini Murali, on the geography of threats across snow leopard landscapes and exchange on approaches to assess them. 

 

Building and exchanging capacities in snow leopard research and conservation

 

In 2022 two projects in India and Kyrgyzstan were supported by the Snow Leopard Network Training Grants Program:

“Volunteers for Nature: Developing and training local volunteers for nature education” led by Deepshikha Sharma and team from the Nature Conservation Foundation.

“Enhancing conservation awareness among youth through school visits by local rangers in Osh Oblast, Kyrgyzstan” led by Fatima Mannapbekova and colleagues from Panthera.

SLN invites you to a discussion with our 2022 Grantees to learn more about their projects and the lessons learned. We will ask our guests to share more about- What was achieved? What were the challenges and opportunities encountered in the implementation of the project? What did the teams learn that could help others wishing to do similar projects? How do teams see the results being applied to conservation? We will then open up the discussion with the audience to discuss effective and respectful strategies for building and exchanging capacities in snow leopard research and conservation among key stakeholders.