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.
Major climatic changes have occurred on a number of occasions, with over 50 such changes taking place in the Pleistocene epoch alone. Each time climate change events have required ecological and behavioural adaptations to surviving plant and animal species, obliging them to seek refuge in suitable areas or cope with habitat modifications and alterations of local plant/animal communities. This can potentially lead to inter-species competition. Mountains are strongly seasonal habitats, which require special adaptations for wildlife species living on them.
Population dynamics of mountain ungulates are strongly influenced by the availability of rich food resources to sustain lactation and weaning during summer seasons. In turn, well fed juveniles will survive winter rigours more easily. In the case of an increase of temperature – such as in the current ongoing climatic change – plant phenology and nutritional quality will be affected. Predictions have been made on what could happen to populations of mountain ungulates based on how climate change could alter the distribution pattern and quality of high elevation vegetation. In this talk we will explore a case study using the “clover community-Apennine chamois Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata” to explore these relationships. All scenarios suggest a decline of the Apennine chamois in the next 50 years in its historical core range- from about 85% to 99% near-extinction. It is argued that the negative consequences of climate changes presently occurring at lower elevations will shift to higher ones in the future. These effects will vary with the species-specific ecological and behavioural flexibility of mountain herbivores, as well as with availability of climate refugia.
If climatic conditions do continue to change, these are likely to elicit a variation of resource availability for herbivores, and in turn for carnivores. A potential for exacerbation of interspecific competition could follow. Species distribution and abundance will be affected calling for farsighted measures of adaptive management and conservation.
Find out more about our speaker here.
Across the range, snow leopards and people share space. Engaging with local communities is essential for snow leopard conservation. Community based programmes tend to engage with men largely due to social norms and existing power structures. This often results in excluding women, who are important stakeholders and form almost 50% of the adult population, from conservation action and decision making.
In this webinar, we explore how to better engage women in conservation programs across the snow leopard landscape. We hear examples from existing programs that specifically target women and discuss how conservation programs can themselves shift social norms around gender equality (positively or negatively). We also examine the key role of policy in transforming community based programs through incorporating gender sensitive approaches.
We will be hearing from conservationists across the snow leopard range – Bayara Agvantsaaren, Dr. LuZhi and Rashmi Singh – who are working at different levels to engage women in snow leopard conservation. Each of them will highlight a particular aspect of their work that highlights the opportunities and challenges in promoting women’s role in community based conservation. Dr. Charudutt Mishra, the Executive Director of the Snow Leopard Trust, will facilitate the panel discussion. Charu has been a pioneer in community based conservation and brings a special perspective around how to make a difference at the ground level.
This webinar is Part 1 of a Webinar Series focussing on the role of women in snow leopard conservation and science (watch the Part 2 recording which took place in September 2021).
The challenges presented by the current environmental crisis require a diversity of perspectives and capacities to achieve human well-being and biodiversity outcomes that are equitable and just. However, the scientific community is still missing essential perspectives from women scientists.
There is evidence of a large and persistent gender gap across a number of levels. For example, as an indicator of representation, a 2021 study showed that women represented only 11% of the top-publishing authors in over a 1000 leading journals in ecology, evolution, and conservation between 1945 to 2019. In the most recent period (2005-2019) there is progress but slow (18% vs 13% in the 1990-2004 period). Within those figures there remains further underrepresentation of women and scientists from the Global South. The research publication gap in the snow leopard conservation community has not yet been assessed in detail. It may however be facing a similar trend. Women’s contribution to snow leopard science is broader and individuals and organizations are making efforts to empower women scientists across the snow leopard range and world.
In this webinar we hear from women scientists who have been working on snow leopard science – Dr. Bermet Tursunkulova, Imogene Cancellare & Dr. Manvi Sharma – and involved in work that supports women in participation and decision making. They will highlight gaps and challenges they see for women in science and discuss strategies for building scientific capacity and creating a supportive community for snow leopard researchers. Dr. Justine Shanti Alexander, the Executive Director of the Snow Leopard Network, will facilitate the panel discussion. She has been actively involved in snow leopard research and conservation for a number of years and brings further perspectives from the SLN network.
More information about the speakers can be found here.
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 as we bring together practitioners and scientists from across the snow leopard range to share the latest thinking and evidence that is emerging on this key issue. We are particularly pleased to welcome Rinjan Shrestha, XiangYing Shi and Tserennadmid Nadia Mijiddorj who share some of the latest research findings on how climate change is influencing snow leopard habitats and people’s livelihoods in Nepal, Mongolia and China. The presentations are followed by a discussion facilitated by Sibylle Noras, a former SLN Steering Committee Member, on how we can use different approaches to gain a clearer picture of climate change influences.
More info about our speakers can be found here.
This Webinar describes the remarkable diversity of bird life in snow leopard habitats and highlight how conserving the unique high elevation habitat of the snow leopard will benefit a range of other species. We welcome John MacKinnon, distinguished author of A Field Guide to the Birds of China (published in 2000), and Terry Townshend, well known in Beijing as a leading expert on ornithology, to lead the webinar- they will take us to the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and give us more than a birds eye view on this interesting look at snow leopard conservation.
Find out more about the talk and the speakers HERE. Enjoy the webinar!
The Snow Leopard Network is pleased to invite you to the next episode in the Country Update Series. This webinar will focus on Kyrgyz Republic and the work of the Ilbirs Foundation in tackling some of the most pressing and challenging threats the species face.
The Kyrgyz Republic continues to play an important role in snow leopard conservation. More than half of the territory of the country is potential snow leopard habitat. The Kyrgyz Republic has been a leader in taking forward the global snow leopard conservation initiative the Global Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP) hosting the first ever Global Snow Leopard Forum in the capital, Bishkek, in 2013 and subsequent important gatherings. A number of civil society and academic institutions in the country are working to build a better understanding of the cats status and engaging with communities to address key threats.
SLN welcomes four guest speakers working with the Ilbirs Foundation for this webinar, Zairbek, Rahim, Kenje and Tanya. They will be sharing updates from a range of new conservation initiatives that are taking shape in the country – addressing critical threats.
Find out more about the Webinar and the Speakers HERE.
The presenters – Rishi Sharma and Rashmi Singh – have undertaken a review of all published research on snow leopards between 1904 and 2020. The goal was to examine the current state of knowledge across the snow leopard range while identifying spatial and temporal gaps. The findings are striking – bringing together the latest published information. Importantly the presenters will highlight the key gaps in our knowledge which may hamper effective conservation planning and action on the ground. The presenters set out seven key priorities for snow leopard research and conservation. Following the presentation we will open the floor for questions and discussion on snow leopard research priorities for the coming decade(s).
More about our speakers HERE.
SLN welcomes its Steering Committee member Orjan Johansson who introduces a recent publication on the scope of potential mis-identifications errors in camera trap data processing. He also shares the latest thinking on investigating this challenge further.
Orjan is joined by Abinand Reddy, David Borchers, Justine Shanti Alexander, Koustubh Sharma, Manvi Sharma and Paul van Dam-Bates as Panelists. Each panelist share their experiences and insights on snow leopard camera trapping and the tools that are being developed to address concerns with individual identification. We hope that this workshop will help share good practices and recommendations for improving individual identification.