As part of the 2017 International Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Forum in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, a symposium on science, conservation and climate change in Central Asia was held on August 23rd.

Thematic sessions included Climate Change in the Snow Leopard Range Areas, Technology and Innovation in Snow Leopard Research and Conservation, Sustainable Finance, Community-based Conservation in Snow Leopard Range Areas, and Field Studies and Conservation in Practice.

The symposium was headlined by some of the leading researchers and practitioners in this field from around the world. It was also be attended by senior leaders from snow leopard range countries, international organizations such as UNDP, GEF, IUCN, GTIC Council and USAID, and nongovernmental conservation organizations including WWF, NABU, the Snow Leopard Trust, Snow Leopard Conservancy, Panthera, and Traffic.

All presentations held at the Symposium are now available for download. Please see the Symposium agenda below for details about speakers and topics.

Day 1

Opening: Welcome Speeches
9:00 Mr. Abdykalyk Rustamov, Director

State Agency on Environment Protection and Forestry (SAEPF)

9:10 Koustubh Sharma, Senior Ecologist and International Coordinator

Snow Leopard Trust (SLT)

Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) Program

9:15 Kimberly Rosen, Mission Director – Kyrgyz Republic

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

9:25 Kate Newman, Vice President, WWF-US
9:30 Yoko Watanabe, UNDP Global Manager-GEF Small Grants Programme
9:35 Introduction to Sessions
Session 1: A Region at Risk – Climate Change in the Snow Leopard Range Areas

Session Chairs:

Rizwan Mehboob, Senior Advisor to the Government of Pakistan on Conservation and the Environment

Midori Paxton, Head, Biodiversity and Ecosystems, UNDP

9:45 Guardians of the Headwaters: Mapping Nature’s Benefits and Climate Change in Six Landscapes across Snow Leopard Range Ryan Bartlett


9:55 Potential Distribution of Snow Leopard Habitat Area in the Context of Climate Change: A Modeling Based Approach Menaka Panta Neupane
10:05 The Priority of Snow Leopard Landscape Conservation at Present and in the Future in the Context of Climate Change Lu Zhi

Peking University

10:15 The Adaptation Gap in High Mountains Matthias Jurek


10:25 Ecosystem-based Adaptation in the High Mountainous Regions of Central Asia: Coming from Business as Usual to Climate Informed Adaptation


Claudia Haller


10:35 Climate Adaptation in Snow Leopard Range Areas John Farrington WWF AHM Project
10:45 Questions and Answers
11:00 Coffee Break and Exhibition – 30 Minutes
Session 2: Technology and Innovation in Snow Leopard Research and Conservation


Session Chairs:

Tom McCarthy, Director of Snow Leopard Programs, Panthera

Andrey Kushlin, Deputy Director, Forestry Policy and Resources, UNFAO


11:30 Snow Leopard Genetics and Population Connectivity along the Nepalese Himalayas Kanchan Thapa WWF Nepal
11:40 Autonomous Ground and Air Systems for Snow Leopard Protection Presented by Dr. Mohammad Ali Nawaz, SLF Pakistan, on behalf of Princess Aliyah Pandolfi

Kashmir World Foundation

11:50 The SAFE Systems Approach to HWC: A Move away from Symptoms-based Mangement Towards Integrated HWC Management. Ashley Brooks

WWF Tigers Alive Initiative

12:00 What Spatial Capture-Recapture Can Tell You about Snow Leopard Distribution and Abundance David Borchers

University of St. Andrews

12:10 The Need for Long-Term Studies in Snow Leopard Conservation Kulbhushansingh Suryawanshi

Nature Conservation Foundation

12:20 Questions and Answers
1:00 Lunch and Exhibition – 60 Minutes
Session 3: Ensuring Sustainability Conservation and Financing for Snow Leopards


Session Chairs: 

Keshav Varma, Director, Global Tiger Initiative Council

Jaime Cavelier, Senior Biodiversity Specialist, GEF


2:00 The Snow Leopard as an Icon for Sustainable Development Midori Paxton


2:10 Community-based Actions for Conservation of the Snow Leopard and its Ecosystems Yoko Watanabe


2:20 Catalyzing Knowledge into Conservation Action: The Save Our Species Initiative Boris Erg


2:30 Valuation of Ecosystem Services from Tiger and Snow Leopard Landscapes: A Manual on Economic Valuation Approaches for Practitioners Madhu Verma,

Indian Institute of Forest Management

2:40 Valuation of Ecosystem Services in Snow Leopard Landscapes of Asia Ranjini Murali


2:50 Questions and Answers
Session 4: Community-based Conservation in Snow Leopard Range Areas


Session Chairs:

Mary Melnyk, Environment Team Leader, USAID Asia Bureau

Michael Despines, Snow Leopard Trust, Executive Director


3:00 A Framework for Community-Based Conservation Charudutt Mishra


3:10 From Mining to Protection: Tost Tosonbumba Nature Reserve, Mongolia Bayarjargal Agvaantseren


3:20 A School Student-driven Trap Collection Campaign in Snow Leopard Range Areas of Western Mongolia Chimeddorj Buyanaa


3:30 Empowering Local Communities through Snow Leopard Conservation: Stories from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan Tanya Rosen


3:40 Ecological Theatre: A New Approach in Ecological Education in the Kyrgyz Republic Farida Balbakova

WWF Kyrgyzstan Program Coordinator

3:50 The Role of Indigenous Cultural Practitioners (ICPs) in Conservation of Snow Leopards Norbu Lama

Land of the Snow Leopard Network

4:00 Questions and Answers
4:10 Coffee Break and Exhibition – 20 Minutes
Session 5: Field Studies and Conservation in Practice


Session Chairs:

Rodney Jackson, Director, snow Leopard Conservancy

Yoko Watanabe, Global Manager-GEF Small Grants Programme, UNDP


4:30 Snow Leopard Conservation and Research in Key Landscapes of China Shi Kun

Beijing Forestry University

4:40 Bhutan National Snow Leopard Survey: 2014-2016


Tshering Dhendup

Department of Forest and Park Services

4:50 Eastern Nepal GSLEP Landscape Management Plan


Maheshwar Dhakal

Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation

5:00 An Ounce of Prevention: Poaching and Trafficking of Snow Leopards James Compton


5:10 Range-Wide Snow Leopard Phylogeography Supports Three Subspecies Jan Janecka,

Duquesne University

5:20 Questions and Answers
5:30 Symposium Closing:

Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International

Keshav Varma, Director, Global Tiger Initiative Council

5:45 Conference News
6:00 Reception and Exhibition
Evening Session 6: Conservation Practitioners’ Seminar – Hyatt Hotel Conference Room


Session Facilitator:

Charudutt Mishra, Science and Conservation Director, SLT


8:00 Training on Scat Collection for Genetic Surveys Jan Janecka

Duquesne University

8:30 Training on Landscape Management Planning for GSLEP Priority Sites Rinjan Shrestha, WWF-Canada and Yashveer Bhatagar, SLT
9:00 Training on Getting Your Conservation Story in the International Media Matthias Fiechter, SLT
9:30 Training on Camera Trap Set Up Kubanych Jumabay



Day 2:


Session 7: Further Talks on Aspects of Snow Leopard Conservation


Session Chair:

Sandro Lovari, Professor, University of Siena


8:30 Registration
9:00 SMART: Improving Protection by Allocating Resources in the Right Areas


Ashley Brooks

WWF Tigers Alive Initiative

9:10 Economic Benefits of Conservation Efforts: The case of the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area, Nepal Deepak Upadhya

WWF-AHM Project

9:20 MAPs for Cats: Sustainable Use and Trade in Medicinal Plants from Himalayan Snow Leopard Range James Compton


9:30 Protecting Biodiversity in the Transboundary Region of the Northern Tian Shan Mountains


[Video (6.5 Minutes)]


Johanna Huth,

Alymjan Bektemirov


9:40 Questions and Answers
10:00 Coffee Break
10:30 Innovative Community Engagement Approaches for Snow Leopard Conservation in Ladakh, India Pankaj Chadan


10:40 A Nation-Wide Snow Leopard Monitoring Program for the Russian Federation: Concept and Implementation Framework Rodney Jackson

Snow Leopard Conservancy

10:50 The Snow Leopard as a Flagship, Umbrella and Keystone Species on the Tibetan Plateau Tom McCarthy


11:00 Questions and Answers
11:10 Symposium Closing


The Director of the State Agency for Environment Protection and Forestry of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Abdylkalik Rustamov, opened the symposium with Ms. Kimberly Rosen, Mission Director of the USAID in the Kyrgyz Republic.

Various organizations working in the field of snow leopard conservation also presented results of their work through posters and information booths.

2017 International Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Forum

The International Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Forum takes place in Bishkek on August 24th and 25th.

The Forum is hosted by Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, and organized by the State Agency for Environment Protection and Forestry of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Global Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Protection Program’s secretariat. Strategic partners include the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Snow Leopard Trust (SLT), Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), Global Environment Facility (GEF), Global Tiger Initiative Council (GTIC) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

More information: