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How Protecting Snow Leopards Can Alleviate Poverty in Central Asia

How Protecting Snow Leopards Can Alleviate Poverty in Central Asia

Founded in 1981, the Snow Leopard Trust is the largest non-profit in the world dedicated to conserving the endangered snow leopard.

Snow leopards make their home in the mountains of 12 Central Asian countries, and have a range of over two million square kilometers. But human activities are a constant threat to snow leopards, and it is estimated that as few 3,500 still live in the wild.

The people living in snow leopard habitat are most often nomadic herders who depend entirely on their livestock for food and wool. If a snow leopard hunts a domestic animal, this can cause severe economic hardship that leads to retaliation against the cat. Snow leopards are also poached by families living on less than $1.00 USD a day, who sell the fur and bones in order to make enough money to meet their most basic needs.

The Snow Leopard Trust uses a Community-Based Conservation approach in order to alleviate the poverty that leads to hunting and poaching. Through conservation programs like Snow Leopard Enterprises, families sharing snow leopard habitat are offered free training on how to make beautiful handmade items from the raw wool of their livestock. These products are then purchased by the Snow Leopard Trust at mutually-agreed upon prices, and sold through our online store.

In order to participate in Snow Leopard Enterprises, each individual is required to sign a Conservation Contract pledging to protect the snow leopards in their area for an entire year. By taking action for conservation, many families in the program have doubled, and in some cases tripled, their annual income, all while conserving endangered snow leopards and their wild prey.

Right now we are trying to expand this conservation program into Kyrgyzstan. The Snow Leopard Trust has been challenged by long-time supporters to raise $13,000 from new donors before April 30th. If we meet this goal, every dollar will be matched by a generous grant. If we meet our goal, $26,000 will go to help protect the remarkable snow leopard.

Please consider taking action for snow leopard conservation.

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Photo above by Anne-Marie (Ami 211 on Flickr)

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9:29AM PDT on Sep 20, 2012

Snow leopards are the most reclusive of the big cats. I fear they may become extinct in my lifetime. This is a wonderful program to help keep them safe.

9:33AM PDT on May 5, 2012

good idea thanks for sharing :)

11:35AM PDT on Apr 25, 2012

If you need an incentive to do the right thing, at least you can stipulate that every year, you add another year to the length of the contract.

Example: first year=1 year,
second year= 2 more years,
third year= 3 more years.

11:04AM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

Why isn't our country paying 30 dollars a month instead of paying thousands for animal testing

Shame on you Government!!!

5:44AM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

good idea!

4:12AM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

While it's terrible that these snow leopards are being killed, it is understandable. While I am completely against it, if these people are suffering, and $1.00 a day is just not enough. These people need to be helped, so they don't have to resort to killing these precious animals.

10:14PM PDT on Apr 18, 2012

If the man is after economical interests, he would not have been so insensitive and cruel on nature.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed --- Mahatma Gandhi

6:47PM PDT on Apr 18, 2012

Beautiful cats... hoping that this measure works to protect them... the world needs more people that care about these animals for it to become a better place...

4:46PM PDT on Apr 18, 2012

taking action for snow leopard conservation.

3:39PM PDT on Apr 18, 2012

Pray that it works for these beautiful cats!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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