Preserve the snow leopard from Ladakh

Understand

Improve knowledge of snow leopard abundance, spatial distribution and behavior.

Prevent and compensate

Develop solutions to anticipate and compensate snow leopard and other predator (wolf, lynx, bear) attacks on domestic herds.

Communicate

Participate in the development of educational programs and awareness campaigns for human communities on wildlife roles and the coexistence with them.

Project status : FINISHED

Species concerned : the snow leopard (Panthera uncia)
In danger (UICN 2008).

Location : Trans-Himalayan Mountains of Ladakh, North India.

Human partner communities : farmers, schools, tourists.

Main objective : To reconcile the snow leopard conservation with the improvement of living conditions of human communities in Ladakh.

Projet manager : Tsewang Namgail, director of Snow Leopard Conservancy snowleopardhimalayas

HISA coordinator : Gaëlle Darmon.

The snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is the symbol of snow-capped mountains of Central Asia. It is estimated that there are only 3,500 to 7,000 individuals in the world, fewer than 500 in India. The species is now endangered. In its natural habitat, steep terrain that culminates up to 5000 m altitude, the snow leopard feeds mainly on large wild herbivores, such as the great bharal (Pseudois nayaur) or Asian ibex (Capra ibex ibex).

The survival of the snow leopard is closely linked to the preservation of its unique habitat and its prey. But its habitat and its prey are threatened by global warming, the expansion of human activities, and poaching. When its natural prey is scarce, the snow leopard is forced to fall back on domestic herbivores, goats, sheep, and even yaks. This risk of predation of domestic herds is exacerbated by new livestock practices in the area that allow herds to wander unattended.

The losses caused by predation can reach 10% of the herd, sometimes more. This represents a major cost for ladakhis, whose meager annual income comes mainly from livestock. In this context, the snow leopard is often considered as a pest by local human communities, and sometimes they are killed. The Ladakhis are therefore the first actors in the conservation of the snow leopard. We are convinced that snow leopard conservation can be used to develop human communities in Ladakh, to improve their quality of life, especially through ecotourism.

That’s where the Snow Leopard Conservancy is working. HISA provides financial, material and scientific support to improve knowledge of the snow leopard ecology, to reduce the conflict between the species and Ladakh herders, and to educate local human communities about the benefits they can bring from wildlife conservation in general, and snow leopard in particular.

Supplies distribution to Ladakhi villagers who wish to set up a guest room at home to welcome tourists who came to the region to trek or to observe wildlife.

Villager who makes tourist figurines, made of yak hair and goat hair, representing the wild animals of the region.

Opening of a hiking trail between two guest rooms in the heart of the snow leopard habitat.

La vallée de la Noubra entourée de montagnes où vivent les léopards des neiges.
Tsewang et Gaëlle lors d'une réunion de travail dans les bureaux de Snow Leopard Conservancy à Leh en Août 2013.