Founded in 1981, the Snow Leopard Trust is the world's leading authority on the study and protection of the endangered snow leopard.
Or a tiger, rhino, rare butterfly, or for that matter a patch of rainforest? These are the questions that every conservation organization faces, and that challenges all of us. Conservation actions can take many forms; setting aside lands, answering critical research questions, working to change government policies, partnering with communities, enforcing anti-poaching laws, or some mix of these and other efforts.
At the Snow Leopard Trust we use a combination of approaches that focus on partnering with communities in snow leopard habitat. But as we build community partnerships we use science and research to determine key snow leopard habitat, assess wildlife-human conflict levels, and identify potential resources for conservation programs. Once we have this information we can prioritize the areas where we will work. High priority areas include key snow leopard habitat, with a history of conflict between predators and the communities, and potential resources to sustain a community-based conservation program.
When the science and research identifies an area as a priority site, we spend a lot of time with local residents, listening to their hopes and concerns, and only then do we take the step of jointly developing a conservation program. The conservation effort must meet four important goals.
1. The protection of snow leopards and their habitat, involving local communities in this effort.
2. An improved quality of life for the members of the community.
3. The program developed must have a path to becoming self-sufficient – where after a time it is no longer dependent on donor dollars.
4. The results of the program must be verifiable through monitoring programs.