The Snow leopard helped by citizen conservationists
The mountains of bordering Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China part of the ‘Mountains of Central Asia’ are a biodiversity hot spot covering 93 percent of Tajikistan land area and are home
to a vast number of plant and animal species, including the Marco Polo sheep, endangered snow leopard and Siberian ibex. Its seemingly endless beautiful landscapes include snowcapped peaks and wild fruit and nut forests.
However, 90 percent of the forests have disappeared in the past 100 years in this region, causing massive soil erosion and increased risk of landslides.
Uncontrolled hunting legal and illegal for meat and trophies is also depleting prey populations. Livestock grazing destroys the grasslands, further threaten Tajikistan’s wildlife. Overgrazing decreases the food supply for the wild sheep and goats that are the snow leopard’s main prey.
As humans push ever further into mountainous areas with their livestock, the snow leopard’s (Uncia uncia or Panthera uncia) habitat is degraded and fragmented. This situation also increases conflict with local people, because snow leopards are more likely to kill domestic livestock when their natural prey is scarce.
Lack of awareness, policy, and implementation hamper the protection of these endangered species. The government of Tajikistan can cover barely 10 percent of the budget needed for adequate conservation.
Your help is urgently needed to support the citizen reeducation and economic development programs.
Effective conservation citizen programs depend on the support of the local impoverished herders in snow leopard areas, but many are work very hard to provide for their families and have little time to devote to protecting any other animal species. The Snow Leopard Trust helps leopards and herders coexist while educating the native folk on the importance of the snow leopard to their habitat. The education is helping slow the killing of these animals, but when poaching feeds more mouths than good deeds or caring for the snow leopards choices are difficult.
Financial programs are being encouraged to help develop the family income so they may help protect their endangered animals and environment more.
1. Turning raw wool into handicrafts makes herders into artisans and improves the lives of rural families.
3. Livestock Vaccination Program helps reduces livestock loss to disease helps local herders tolerate living with predators like snow leopards.
The Snow Leopard Trust has a snow leopard comprehensive free hand science curriculum is available by clicking here.
Listen to how this big cat sounds.
Excerpts courtesy of snowleopardtrust.org
Image 1, Tajikistan Mountains courtesy of http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/archive/d/d3/20080913045630!Tajik_mountains_edit.jpg
Image 2. adult snow leopard courtesy of http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a7/Uncia_uncia.jpg
Image 3. Snow leopard cub courtesy of http://www.ethioplanet.com/news/wp-content/plugins/wp-o-matic/cache/2bea0_96548312.jpg