From conflict to prosperity

The goal here is to enhance the role of local communities in snow leopard conservation efforts by adopting and implementing policies and laws that favor community involvement in conservation, promoting environmentally sustainable economic activities that directly benefit local livelihoods, and supporting community-based programs to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts.

Reducing and offsetting economic losses due to conservation and human-wildlife conflicts and making wildlife conservation beneficial for local communities is a core principle of snow leopard conservation.

Among the specific activities by which many countries plan to address this principle are livestock insurance schemes to provide compensation for losses and improved and predator-proof livestock corrals or improved herding practices to reduce losses. Relevant good practices that have proven effective in several range countries, in particular compensation, insurance, and predator-proof corrals, and, where livestock disease is a problem, vaccination programs, can be emulated and scaled up.

Portfolio in engaging local communities and addressing human-wildlife conflict

Country Objective Key Activities
Afghanistan Better inform communities about the ecology and conservation of snow leopards and implement conservation interventions through community participation. Enhance the knowledge base on the population size, distribution, and ecology of snow leopards and their prey species.
Bhutan To engage local communities in conservation by gradually transferring ownership of conserving snow leopards and their ecosystem to the communities for long-term conservation. Form community resource-management groups. Establish community-based snow leopard conservation groups.Put in place livestock insurance scheme in the snow leopard range.
China To strive for wider understanding, support, and participation of local communities for more effective protection and recovery of snow leopard habitats, and anti-poaching of snow leopards and other wildlife. Enhance public education in local communities, compensate their losses caused by snow leopards and other protected wildlife, and undertake research and pilot trail to prevent the losses possibly caused by snow leopard and to develop eco-friendly livelihoods for local communities.
India Implement the management strategy already prepared for threat mitigation and livelihood support programs. Use proven best practices for threat mitigation and conservation. Support community livelihoods that support conservation. Redress threats from wildlife such as predation of livestock.
Kazakhstan Expand the compensation program. Compensation. Improved livestock corrals.
Kyrgyz Republic Engage local communities. Develop mechanisms to work with local communities on species conservation. Set up compensation program for harm or damages.
Mongolia Decrease number of livestock that are pushing wild ungulates out of good pasture and open water sources. Reduced overgrazing. Reduce snow leopard-human conflict due to depredation. Expand initiatives, such as snow leopard enterprises, to encourage herders to conserve snow leopards. Generate alternative income sources for herders communities in snow leopard habitat to cover loss of livestock to predators. Improve productivity to decrease the number of livestock.
Nepal Build harmony and reduce conflict between local communities and snow leopards. Engage community-based institutions, mainly buffer zone and Conservation Areas institutions. Work with herders to improve herding practices. Hold active community dialogue to define rights and responsibilities for the conservation of snow leopards and their prey. Develop community-level management plans for the conservation of snow leopards and their prey. Support the development of structures for natural resource governance. Support collaboration among different levels of authority. Promote community-managed ecotourism in the buffer zones of snow leopard-bearing protected areas.
Pakistan Reduce conflict with locals, risks of snow leopard killing, and diseases through participatory conservation to enhance tolerance and build support for snow leopards. Implement community-based conservation programs to reduce predation-related economic burden on communities. Implement predator-proof corrals to reduce predation losses. Implement programs to reduce livestock and wildlife mortality through livestock vaccination. Implement awareness and outreach programs targeting all stakeholders.
Russia Develop and implement a system of incentives for local communities to encourage herders to protect snow leopards. Develop and pilot a system of incentives and measures to encourage herders to protect snow leopards in Altai and Tuva Republics.
Tajikistan Reduce conflict between pastoralists and snow leopards and develop incentives for local communities to conserve snow leopards and their prey. Build predator-proof corrals. Work with herders to improve herding practices. Hold active community dialogue on defining rights and responsibilities for the conservation of snow leopards and their prey. Develop management plans for the conservation of snow leopards and their prey at the community level. Support the development of structures of natural resource governance. Support collaboration among different levels of authority.
Uzbekistan Incentives for local communities. Develop incentives for local communities to conserve snow leopards and their prey. Introduce predator-proof corrals, livestock guard dogs, and improved husbandry practices.

Indigenous Cultural Practitioners Statement to Global Snow Leopard Conservation Forum

Ashu Workshop September 11-14, 2013

Facilitated by:

Snow Leopard Conservancy and Worldwide Indigenous Science Network

With funding from The Christensen Fund and the Indigenous Fund of the Tides Foundation

Kyrgyz Elders suggest this petroglyph carries the message that humans have the responsibility of holding the balance in nature, so ibex and snow leopards can survive.

Kyrgyz Elders suggest this petroglyph carries the
message that humans have the responsibility of
holding the balance in nature, so ibex and snow leopards can survive.

We, the indigenous cultural practitioners of the snow leopard range countries, welcome global efforts for the conservation of snow leopards and express our readiness to collaborate in the development and implementation of the comprehensive long-term Global Snow Leopard Conservation Program to meet goals of 2020 using our traditional knowledge.

The Bishkek Declaration expressed strong concern about the increasing threats to our sacred animal that is “an irreplaceable symbol of our nation’s natural and cultural heritage and an indicator of the health and sustainability of mountain ecosystems” and called for “the enhancement of the role of local communities in snow leopard conservation efforts”. Representing indigenous and local communities of our respective countries we emphasize close ties between indigenous communities and communities of our totem animals. For us the state of the snow leopard is an indicator of the state of the spiritual and socio-cultural wellbeing of our communities today and of our future generations tomorrow. Indissoluble, enduring connection and mutual dependence of the fate of our Peoples from the fate of their totem animals is an indisputable truth for us. We understand that the risks and threats for the sacred snow leopard are augmented by the loss of traditional understanding and respect for the value of totem animals; we therefore are eager to unite our efforts with the efforts of our respective Governments, scientists and world community.

Out of this sense of responsibility to our ancestors and our future generations, we indigenous cultural practitioners stress the central role of the snow leopard in survival of humanity facing civilization crisis, which is threatening our mountains with the cold breath of death. Snow leopards and other totem animals call us—through drastic change in their usual behavior—for spiritual renewal, for recognition and respect of the rights of Mother Nature. The snow leopard conservation measures cannot be limited just to the creation of new parks and protected territories. Conservation needs to be inclusive of the revival of cultural reverence and connectivity to these totem animals and strengthening of existing sacred sites.

Today snow leopard range countries have a unique opportunity to create a system of snow leopard survival based on the spiritual and cultural resurgence of indigenous and local communities who share with this animal its habitat, i.e. revival of the large cultural landscapes and sacred sites. We, as indigenous cultural practitioners, are ready to strengthen educational, spiritual, and ceremonial ways to ensure return of respect to the snow leopard as an ambassador of Mother Nature. Indigenous and local communities are ready to take relevant actions to ensure sustainability of the snow leopard’s prey species by banning shooting in sacred places and by enhancing sustainable traditional hunting practices.

We recognize the value of integration of our traditional knowledge with conservation science and are ready for cooperation. We call upon our Governments to enable active, full, and effective participation of indigenous and local communities, including cultural practitioners, in the development and implementation of local, national, regional, and global plans for conservation of snow leopard ecosystems through clear mechanisms of coordination, inclusion, and respect.

About workshop

Statement in PDF