Recovering natural habitats

Range countries aim to intensify conservation efforts within large landscapes required for snow leopard survival by identifying and designating critical habitats of key snow leopard populations as no-go areas for destructive land uses, maintaining their connectivity through natural corridors, and strengthening their on-the-ground protection.

Taking a landscape-level approach to snow leopard conservation that includes protected areas and non-protected lands and as well as transboundary landscapes is a core principle. Among the specific activities are creating new protected areas (PAs), developing management plans for model landscapes, and identifying corridors that link PAs.

As a good practice, returning grazing land to natural grassland has led to grassland recovery and prey increases in the snow leopard range in China, while new PAs in Kazakhstan reduced human pressure on habitat as well as created local jobs and reduced poaching.

Portfolio in managing habitat and prey

Country Objective Key Activities
Afghanistan Declaration of snow leopard habitat range as protected areas to protect snow leopard, prey species, and habitats. Survey of prey density. Education and public outreach promoting protected areas and their benefits.
Declaration of the Wakhan Conservation Landscape (WCL) as a protected area to conserve wildlife and the ecosystem, focusing on snow leopard and its prey species. Hold a workshop for stakeholders at local, provincial, and national levels. Develop and implement Management Plan.
Implementation of National Protected Area System Plan (NPASP) by 2030 to provide effective protection to at least 10% of Afghanistan’s land area and to the habitat of selected species. Provide guidelines to develop and implement a protected area network and guide research and fieldwork. Coordinate protected area activities implemented by the government, national NGOs, international NGOs, the UN, and others. Guide practices for financing the protected area system.
Bhutan Conserving contiguous snow leopard habitat with a good population across the range. Identify model landscapes in each snow leopard national park based on snow leopard population, conflicts, and strategic importance. Develop conservation plans for each model landscape through a consultative process involving communities and other stakeholders. Implement the management plans.
Improve management of the snow leopard range through habitat protection and strengthen PA linkages. Map potential habitats for snow leopards. Survey prey for snow leopards and develop species-specific conservation plans. Implement conservation management plans
China Secure the core range areas, mitigate conflicts between snow leopard behavior and human grazing activities in the areas around core range areas, recover the grazing areas into natural grasslands in the important areas, especially for the ecological corridors to link core range areas. Establish new protection stations to cover conservation-blind areas and enhance capacity building, undertake habitat inventory and electronic mapping, work out regional habitat management planning and technical guidance on habitat restoration for snow leopards, launch pilot trails to restore grazing areas into natural grasslands for ecological corridors and scale up later.
India Under Project Snow Leopard, a management plan has been prepared for the ca. 4,000 km2 Upper Spiti Landscape and is being implemented since 2010. An integrated management plan is being implemented by the HP Forest Department with involvement of local communities, conservation organizations, and other Government departments. Activities to tackle conflicts, improve livelihoods, improve awareness, and reduce pressures are being implemented.
The Department of Wildlife Protection in Ladakh is implementing an integrated program for conservation covering most of the Ladakh region. This project, led by the Wildlife Department, is carrying out innovative projects for improving livelihoods, ensuring energy efficiency and overall conservation in the landscape.
Kazakhstan Establish new PAs. Develop key documentation to enable establishment of new PAs.
Mongolia Protect key snow leopard habitats that are currently unprotected and overgrazed. Establish at least 2 new state PAs in key snow leopard habitats.
Improve pasture management. Establish local PAs and resource-managed PAs and improve capacity of existing ones. Establish pilot community-managed areas as models for other communities and government staff to learn from. Ensure management follows sound conservation practices and principles.
Increase protection of snow leopards outside of PAs. Increase capacity of provincial nature conservation agencies and nature inspectors to organize effective protection
Nepal Strengthen the capacity of snow leopard-bearing PA staff and community-based wildlife conservation organizations to monitor health of the habitats and prey. Provide capacity building activities to frontline staff in monitoring prey and their habitats. Engage and train citizen scientists. Equip all snow leopard-bearing PAs and community based-wildlife organizations. Conserve and protect wetlands including rivers for snow leopards, prey, and their habitats.
Pakistan Expand and improve the management of the PA network and increase habitat protection through improving functionality of PAs. Construct habitat suitability of the snow leopard in Pakistan, and identify connectivity corridors. Assess existing PAs for their adequacy to protect snow leopards, and identify candidate sites for additional PAs. Review efficiency of PAs in snow leopard range and identify shortcomings. Conduct baseline environmental studies in PAs and develop management plans. Strengthen functionality of PAs by training and facilitating wildlife staff.
Promote a landscape-level approach to snow leopard conservation. Identify model landscapes in each province based on snow leopard population, conflicts, and strategic importance. Develop conservation plans for each model landscape through a consultative process involving communities and other stakeholders. Implement the Management Plans.
Russia Establish 400,000 ha of new PAs in key snow leopard habitats. Develop documents for establishing new PAs and extending existing PAs in Altai and Tuva Republics and the southern part of Krasnoyarsky Kray. Secure approval of PA documents by federal and regional governments. Establish PAs.
Start operations of Sailugem National Park, Altai Republic. Begin operation of Sailyugem National Park.
Tajikistan Strengthen the existing PA network and the capacity of PA staff to conserve snow leopards and their prey successfully. Provide capacity building through training to staff of the following PAs: Zorkul, Tajik National Park, Dashtijum, Romit, and Shirkent. Provide equipment to PAs staff for monitoring. Promote the ecotourism potential of said PAs. Develop management plans for Zorkul, Romit, and Dashtijum.
Uzbekistan Strengthen protected areas. Strengthen the existing network PAs for snow leopards.