Linking Snow Leopard Conservation and People-Wildlife

Conflict Resolution: Grassroots Measures to Protect the

Endangered Snow Leopard from Herder Retribution

Rodney Jackson

Snow Leopard Conservancy, 236 North Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 201, Lost Gatos, CA 95030, USA; (408) 354-6459; (fax)

(408) 654-5869;

Rinchen Wangchuk

Field Program Director, Snow Leopard Conservancy, Leh, Ladakh, India


Livestock depredation has become a significant problem across the snow leopard's

(uncia ) range in Central Asia, being most severe in and near protected areas. Such predation,

especially incidents of "surplus killing," in which five to 100 or more sheep and goats are lost in a

single night, almost inevitably leads herders to retaliate by killing rare or endangered carnivores

like snow leopard, wolf, and lynx. Ironically, such loss can be avoided by making the night-time

enclosures predator-proof, improving animal husbandry techniques, educating herders on wildlife

conservation and the importance of protecting the natural prey base, and by providing economic

incentives like handicrafts skills training and marketing, along with carefully planned ecotourism

trekking and guiding. The author explores innovative conservation initiatives in the Himalaya

(Ladakh and Tibet) and Mongolia, which also build local capacity, self-reliance, and stewardship

for nature using Appreciative Participatory Planning and Action, or APPA, techniques. The most

sound conservation investments are those contingent upon establishing direct linkages with

biodiversity protection, ensuring co-financing and reciprocal responsibility for project activities,

encouraging the full participation of all stakeholders, and assuring regular monitoring and evaluation

of the village-based agreements (embodied in Action Plans).