SOS – Save Our Species (SOS) Funds Community-Based Programs to Help Save Endangered Snow Leopards in Pakistan, according to Jean-Christophe Vié, Director of SOS

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SOS – Save Our Species (SOS), has funded a series of community-based programs to help save the endangered snow leopards in Pakistan, to according to Jean-Christophe Vié, Deputy Director of IUCN’s Global Species Programme and Director of SOS.

The Snow Leopard - an Endangered Species - photo by Craig Kasnoff

With the support from SOS, the project plans to pilot programs in 10 villages across five key Central Karakoram Conservation Complex CKCC valleys in Pakistan. Jean-Christophe Vié.

Report From: Endangered Earth News

SOS – Save Our Species (SOS), has funded a series of community-based programs to help save the endangered snow leopards in Pakistan, according to according to Jean-Christophe Vié, Deputy Director of IUCN’s Global Species Programme and Director of SOS.

“With the support from SOS, the project plans to pilot programs in 10 villages across five key Central Karakoram Conservation Complex CKCC valleys in Pakistan,” says Vié. “Overall, it is hoped the project will not only reduce poaching and retribution killing of snow leopards, but help local herders improve herding and animal husbandry practices and increase their economic opportunities in environmentally sustainable ways.”

Go here to learn more about the SOS funded snow leopard conservation project.

The snow leopard the flagship species for some of the most spectacular mountains in Central Asia including the Himalaya, Tian Shan and Karakorum. Snow leopards are famed for their long tail, thick spotted fur, and ability to hunt down sheer cliffs; but unfortunately even on the ‘roof of the world’, snow leopards are endangered due to threats that include poaching and persecution by local herding communities.

The total wild population of the snow leopard is estimated at between 4,080 to 6,590 individuals. In 1972, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) placed the snow leopard on its Red List of Threatened Species as globally "Endangered”. The same threat category was applied in an IUCN assessment conducted in 2008. It is estimated there are 200-420 wild snow leopards in Pakistan.

Vié would like to make sure those numbers do not decline any further.

“With support from SOS, the Snow Leopard Trust, and its NGO partner in Pakistan the Snow Leopard Foundation, will initiate community-focused conservation programs to curb poaching and retribution killing of snow leopards in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan Province,” says Vié. “In particular, the project will target villages within Central Karakoram Conservation Complex (CKCC), and areas that includes Central Karakorum National Park (CNKP) and adjoining valleys. These areas are thought to have the highest concentrations of snow leopards in Pakistan.”

Vié says to address the issues facing snow leopards, the project team will work with communities to start economic development programs linked to conservation. He says programs such as a Livestock Insurance Program and a Livestock Vaccination Program have been proven to help ameliorate tensions between herders and snow leopards.

“Through the Livestock Insurance Program, households can insure livestock and receive compensation for animals lost to such predator species,” says Vié. “The Livestock Vaccination Program reduces the number of livestock lost to disease so herders can more readily tolerate livestock losses to predation. The effectiveness of these programs will be augmented with educational outreach activities aimed at building greater awareness and appreciation for snow leopards.”

Go here to learn more about the SOS snow leopard conservation project, scheduled to continue through December 2014.

SOS - Save Our Species, is a global coalition initiated by the three founding partners the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the World Bank, to build the biggest species conservation fund, supporting on-the-ground field conservation projects all over the world. The goal of SOS is to combine resources and funding experience from the World Bank and GEF, with the authoritative science of IUCN and the resources and ingenuity of the private sector, to create a mechanism that ensures sufficient funding goes to species conservation projects where and when it will have the most impact.

Go here to learn more about SOS – Save Our Species.

Endangered Earth News was created by Endangered Species Journalist Craig Kasnoff to promote the plight of endangered species and the efforts to save them from extinction.

Go here to learn more about endangered species.

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