Snow Leopard Trust
The global population of snow leopards has decreased by 20% in the past 16 years and it is estimated that there are only 4,000 – 6,500 snow leopards remaining due to habitat and prey base loss, and poaching and persecution (IUCN, 2010). This species is classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN.
In 2009, Dublin Zoo began working with the Snow Leopard Trust. The Snow Leopard Trust was founded in 1981 and is now the leading authority on the study and protection of snow leopards. Their conservation philosophy is based on sound science and research coupled with building community partnerships.
The funding from Dublin Zoo in 2011 is going towards five on-going, sustainable and community-driven projects in three countries:
- Long-term ecological study in South Gobi which includes GPS radio-collaring of snow leopards and camera trapping
- Implementing Snow Leopard Enterprises which generates extra income for farmers to offset losses of livestock to snow leopards
- Conservation education programmes for young people living in Himalayan villages to promote positive attitudes towards nature
- Livestock insurance programmes for livestock taken by snow leopards which helps decrease retaliatory persecution of snow leopards.
- Livestock vaccination and husbandry programme – local herders lose more livestock to disease than to snow leopards so these programmes reduce livestock mortality. This also means farmers can keep smaller herds which compete less with snow leopard’s natural prey.
Snow Leopard and her cub in South Gobi, Mongolia (caught by camera trap). Photo courtesy of Snow Leopard Trust/Panthera)
Snow leopard movement patterns in South Gobi, Mongolia (May 2011). Each colour represents a snow leopard with a GPS collar which allows researchers to follow their movements.