Healthy mountain pastures key to snow leopard conservation in Central Asia

Find out how Vanishing Treasures supports snow leopard conservation in the region

Helena Lopes, Unsplash
26 October 2021
Landscape News Editor

Snow leopards will never attack livestock if there is diverse wildlife in the area. There will always be enough food for wild animals if humans do not interfere.

Isa Dotaliev, herder in Kochkor District in northern-central Kyrgyzstan

Future-proofing snow leopard habitat is a complex, multi-player task. Snow leopards need prey to survive. Their prey, usually wild grazers, need mountain pastures to thrive. And local people, in turn, depend on the same mountain pastures for their livestock. Overgrazing by livestock, however, degrades pastures, upsetting the ecological balance.

This is a conundrum that the Vanishing Treasures programme – led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and working with partners in Kyrgyzstan (Snow Leopard Trust and Ilbirs Foundation) and Tajikistan (Association of Nature Conservation Organisations of Tajikistan – ANCOT) and local communities – is trying to resolve by creating the conditions for human-snow leopard coexistence.

As with many other mountain ecosystems where the elusive snow leopard lives, the fauna and flora of the Kyrgyz Ala-Too and the Tajik Pamir mountains are threatened by climate change, but also human activities, mainly livestock rearing, as well as poaching, infrastructure development and mining.

Read the full article at Vanishing Treasures.

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