Let us Save the Snow Leopard Together
For the people of Kyrgyzstan, the snow leopard has been a sacred animal since ancient times. Today, it remains an important part of our national culture and heritage – and it is an ambassador of our mountain ecosystems.
To conserve this majestic species, President Almazbek Atambayev of the Kyrgyz Republic hosted the first World Forum on the conservation of the snow leopard and its ecosystems in Bishkek in 2013. The event has galvanised the international snow leopard community, and has become a starting point for an unprecedented joint effort to save this unique animal: The Global Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Protection Program, GSLEP.
Under this program, snow leopard range countries have committed to securing 20 landscapes across the cat’s range by 2020.
The snow leopard continues to face serious threats from poaching and retaliation killing, illegal trade, a reduction of prey and habitat due to increased development of animal husbandry and economic activities in mountainous areas of Central Asia.
But in the last years, many countries have made encouraging progress. In Kyrgyzstan, we have been able to stop the decline in the cat’s population, and to reverse the trend in a positive direction. Fifteen years ago, the species was on the brink of extinction in the Sarychat-Ertash state nature reserve, one of the country’s prime snow leopard habitats. Today, thanks to the joint efforts of the state, local communities and international organisations, this area is once again home to a stable snow leopard population today.
Our positive experience provides compelling evidence that we can indeed create safe havens for our wildlife, where endangered species such as the snow leopard will find the necessary conditions to survive.
I believe that we can create a world where people and snow leopards can coexist peacefully if we can successfully link conservation with sustainable development. To do so, we will need to continue our efforts to prosecute illegal poaching to minimise the negative effects on snow leopard and to ensure the protection of the snow leopard’s ecosystems, both in protected areas and beyond.
This summer, we invite the global community to join us for a Snow Leopard Conservation Summit and Green Investment Forum in Bishkek and help shape the future of Asia’s mountain ecosystems and their magnificent ambassador, the snow leopard.
Together, we can save the snow leopard. This cat deserves it. Humanity deserves it. Thank you for helping with this effort.
Director of the State Agency for Environment Protection & Forestry of the Kyrgyz Republic