How the Tost mountains, Mongolia became a protected haven for snow leopards

This is a story of protecting the Tost Mountains from being given away under mining licenses. The story had a number of chapters and it’s share of hopes and disappointments. After a long campaign of over 7 years that included research, advocacy and political mobilization a set of mining licenses were finally revoked and Tost was designated as a Nature Reserve for snow leopards in 2018. 

Bayara  Agvantsaaren, the Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation Director starts by talking about the setting. She then shares a first hand account of how snow leopards face a number of emerging threats in Mongolia- in a context of economic needs that continue to pressurize the modern world. Bayara gives us an inside view of her team’s experience in accomplishing this extraordinary achievement in a very challenging setting, drawing on the support and involvement of local people and media. Dr. Charudutt Mishra, the Executive Director of the Snow Leopard Trust, joins us as discussant. He brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and thinking about how snow leopard conservation and development can go hand in hand while addressing emerging threats to snow leopards such as mining.

The timing of breeding and independence for snow leopard females and their cubs

This talk is a continuation of our series entitled “Snow Leopard Conversations”. The series aims to showcase the latest science and research related to snow leopards. Dr. Orjan Johannson presents the recent paper entitled “The timing of breeding and independence for snow leopard females and their cubs.” Our SLN Committee Member – Dr. Sandro Lovari – facilitates the session. The full article can be accessed through the following link.

Using a genetic lens to understand endangered species

We are delighted to welcome Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan for this thematic discussion on how genetics can be brought to bear more effectively on specific aspects of snow leopard conservation. Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan starts by exploring the reasons species go extinct, and describes how genetic methods and data can inform our understanding of species’ futures. Uma gives some examples of her work with tigers, and summarise their knowledge on snow leopard conservation genetics, including work to estimate snow leopard population size. Finally, she describes ongoing efforts (in collaboration with scientists at Stanford University) to understand more about snow leopards globally and locally. Dr. Byron Weckworth, Director of Panthera’s Snow Leopard and Conservation Genetic programs, joins us as principal discussant.

Snow leopard research and conservation in the Russian Federation

Russia is host to a unique snow leopard population found at the most northern latitudes of the range, in areas largely bordering Mongolia. The county is at the same time estimated to hold 2% of the global snow leopard population. During the Webinar our guests- Alexander Karnaukhov and Tatiana Ivanitskaya– share insights into WWF-Russia’s snow leopard conservation program of the Altai-Sayan Eco-region. They describe the main threat to the snow leopard in Russia– which is considered to be snaring. Poaching of other species, such as musk deer, with metal wire snares threatens the snow leopard. The team showcase a range of tools and techniques to monitor snow leopard populations in the area. They also share with us insights into WWF-Russia’s conservation and communication strategy. 

The global status of snow leopard threats and opportunities for conservation

Our SLN Steering Committee member – Dr. Juan Li – gives a brief overview presentation on the global status of snow leopard threats and opportunities for conservation. Dr. Juan Li has been a leading figure in carrying out global assessments of snow leopard responses to climate change, predicting global distributions and identifying key geographic areas for conservation priority. This will set the scene for highlighting the need for continued global collaborations in snow leopard conservation.

We then showcase how SLN is working towards contributing to global conservation efforts and supporting GSLEP efforts. Dr. Koustubh Sharma from the GSLEP Program and key members of SLN’s Steering Committee also join us to highlight the SLN-GSLEP partnership.

Not all large carnivores are the same: predators, prey and the snow leopard

We are delighted to welcome Dr. Francesco Ferretti  and Dr. Sandro Lovari who explore a number of hypothesises on how snow leopards interact with prey and other carnivores

Access to adequate large prey and avoidance of competition with larger predators are two major determinants of behaviour and ecology of carnivores. Moreover, predators and prey are constantly involved in an evolutionary arms race, aiming at maximising prey capture rate and minimising predation, respectively. Man-induced habitat manipulation and prey depletion alter these natural dynamics. The way these factors interact is crucial to enhance conservation of large carnivores.

This talk combines recently published and ongoing meta-analyses on food habits of large terrestrial carnivores and studies on predator-prey interactions, to explore the role of prey diversity in influencing carnivore coexistence as well as favouring their persistence. In particular, implications for a better understanding of the ecology of the snow leopard and its interactions with competitors and prey are discussed.

Snow leopard research and conservation in Nepal: Past, Present and Future

Nepal has a long and very special history in snow leopard conservation. Research and conservation efforts in Nepal were path finding for the wider snow leopard community. In this month’s Webinar, we are delighted to welcome Gopal Khanal, who is currently working as Assistant Conservation Officer in Shey Phoksundo, the largest National Park of Nepal and home to a significant population of snow leopards. We also are joined by Dr. Som Ale, a member of SLN’s Committee, who has been working in snow leopard conservation in Nepal, for over two decades. Together, our guests bridge past and present, with a special focus on community based conservation, through the lens of policy and research. We also look towards Nepal’s snow leopard conservation agenda for the next decade.

Snow leopard conservation: Reflections from the past

We would like to invite you to our fourth SLN webinar of 2020. This webinar takes us back to consider snow leopard conservation efforts over the longer term. We are extremely pleased to welcome our guest Dr. Raghu Chundawat, who has followed snow leopard conservation since the 1980s.

Our guest is interviewed by Dr. Koustubh Sharma, for 30 min, followed by a 30 min discussion period with Dr. Joseph Fox, who joined us as a discussant. Raghu reflects on a time when very little was known about the snow leopard. In particular, he shares recollections of the very real challenges of studying snow leopards in the wild. Watch this very special Webinar where we travel to the past and hear important perspectives of conservation developing over this extensive stretch of time. 

Population Assessment of the World’s Snow Leopards: The Why & How

We would like to invite you to our third SLN webinar of 2020. Having heard updates from China and Mongolia, July’s Webinar turns towards a global perspective of snow leopard conservation. We are extremely pleased to welcome our guests- Dr. David Borchers and Dr. Koustubh Sharma- who will take us into the world of numbers and statistics about snow leopards in a practitioner friendly way.  

Our speakers, Dr. David Borchers and Dr. Koustubh Sharma, take us through the Why and the How of assessing the global snow leopard population. We discover the story of why (and when) the initiative of Population Assessment of the World’s Snow leopards (PAWS) emerged. We also discuss how PAWS can be achieved, including key ideas of spatial capture-recapture (SCR) and the power of SCR to analyse survey data. Finally we cover the latest developments in this fast-developing area of research. 

Thank you to all our participants who attended the live event. If you missed it please watch the recording below. 

A joint effort to map the snow leopard across Mongolia

We invite you to watch our second Snow Leopard Network webinar of this series; updates from snow leopard range countries. Our guest Dr. Gantulga Bayandonoi, from WWF-Mongolia, shares with us recent updates on a country level distribution survey of snow leopards in Mongolia. Dr. Bayandonoi’s presentation of 20 minutes is followed by a vibrant discussion on the conservation of the species and the National survey covering the entire snow leopard range of the country. Purejav Lkhagvajav, Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation Mongolia, joins us as guest discussant. 

Thank you to all the participants who joined us live.