Snow Leopard

What is WWF-Pakistan doing?

Snow leopard © Ghulam Rasool / WWF-Pakistan. rel=
Snow leopard © Ghulam Rasool / WWF-Pakistan
© Ghulam Rasool / WWF-Pakistan

A quick over view of the snow leopard conservation activities undertaken, so far, in GB are as follows:


Research:

    1. In collaboration with Biological Science Department of KIU, conducted research on "species population and distribution in Kunjerab National Park (KNP) using non-invasive genetic sampling techniques (2009-2010).

    2. Supported Snow Leopard Foundation (SLF) for SL habitat mapping and species distribution studies in Qurumbar and KNP (2010-11).

    3. (a) Livestock Insurance Schemes (03) to compensate depredation losses and combat retaliatory killing of top predators, particularly snow leopards in the area

      (b) Livestock vaccination program to control transmission of diseases from livestock to wildlife and vice versa, especially prior these are taken to high land summer pastures

    both the activities are quite useful in KNP and CKNP valleys.

Conservation:

    1. Sino-Pak trans-boundary conservation initiative; For the first time in conservation history of GB, WWF introduced "Pasture management" in 2007 to protect SL and other predators in three buffer zone valleys of KNP including KVO, Shimshal and Ghulkin communities. Interventions included:
      a. Livestock Insurance Schemes (03) to compensate predation losses and combat retaliatory killing of top predators, particularly snow leopards in the area b. Livestock vaccination program to control transmission of diseases from livestock to wildlife and vice versa, especially prior these are taken to high land summer pastures.... both the activities are quite working in KNP valleys. SLF has in fact replicated these interventions later on (2012)

    2. In Evk2CNR funded SEED project, we have been implementing a whole package of tested interventions of pasture management aiming to combat HWC on shared habitats (7 priority sites/pastures), since 2007. The interventions include:
      a. Pre-intervention study on pastures and pastoralism in CKNP to identify most vulnerable (high SL predation areas) sites in CKNP region - report available on website (www.wwfpak.org/gcic).
      b. Livestock insurance schemes established in 7 priority valleys in CKNP covering Gilgit, Hunza-Nagar, Skardu and Ganche districts of Gilgit-Baltistan.
      c. Livestock vaccination has been regularly carried out in 7 priority valleys covering Gilgit, Hunza-Nagar, Skardu and Ganche districts of Gilgit-Baltistan, to control disease transmission from LS to WL and vice versa...
      d. Breed improvement campaigns to reduce livestock grazing pressure on high land pastures, by reducing number of animals to be grazed there, as productive/lactating animals are preferred to be kept down in villages for milk.. and to control losses from animal mortality... as stronger animals are more likely to escape predators. Thus prey population could have least competition for food and thus thrill better.
      e. Coral improvement in 7 priority sites, to make cattle sheds predator proof, as a study in KNP has revealed that most of sheep and goats in summer pastures were killed by SL and wolf inside pens at night.
      f. Fodder cultivation at low altitude barren land to support stall feeding of animals at home, to further reduce grazing pressure by domestic animals on pastures.
      g. Native fast growing tree species have been grown in quite huge numbers over > 800 ha (during last three years) to combat removal of natural vegetation from key pastures and rangelands to meet fire wood needs.
      h. Conducting a study on disease transmission from domestic to wild animals in Gilgit-Baltistan. Field work completed but data analysis and compilation is to done.

3.With WWF-Netherland funding Saving Wetlands Sky High Programme we have been able to:

    a. Establish joint watch and ward systems in five priority high altitude wetlands sites including Handrap-Shandoor, Utter Lake (Ishkoman), Naltar Lakes, Gahkuch marshland, Jarbaso Lake (Shigar), Sheosar Lake DNP and Qurumbar Lake in QNP, where trained community watchers jointly with watchers from GB FWP Department protect predators and their prey against illegal hunting and poaching.
    b. Establish livestock insurance schemes jointly with GB FWP Department, Directorate of DNP and QNP. Good thing is that the government has contributed 50% share to the LSI fund for DNP and QNP.
    c. Vaccinated more than 8000 animal heads against four most common diseases in Naltar, Gahkuch and Qurumbar during last one year (July 11 - June 12).
    d. Conducting prey and predator population assessment surveys in DNP, QNP and other HAW sites. Have just completed predator survey in DNP and QNP.

4.With USAID –WWF-US funded “Conservation and adaptation in Asia’s High mountain communities and landscapes” project” we are:

    a. Community mobilization, education and awareness for care and conservation of snow leopard in the project site (Hassanbad and Hopper valleys of Hunza-Nagar district)
    b. Scientific research on snow leopard population, distribution and species diversity to establish baseline information for future monitoring
    c. Protection of snow leopards and its prey against direct and indirect killing / hunting / poaching through effective watch and guard system
    d. Train local herders in prey-predator identification, census and safety techniques
    e. Establish compensatory mechanisms i.e., livestock insurance scheme to combat retaliatory killing of snow leopard and other predators
    f. Livestock vaccination program to control transmission of fatal diseases from livestock to wildlife, particularly on shared habitats.

5. In WWF-Pakistan SGF funded Improvised Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre project we are:

Helping the Gilgit-Baltistan Forest, Wildlife and Environment Department in establishing an Improvised Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre at Naltar for safe custody, protection, care and training of orphan, injured, rescued and captured snow leopard cubs and other young animals till their release back into the wild. Under this project, WWF is trying to ensure;

    1. Safe custody of the recently captured snow leopard cub from Khunjerab Valley
    2. Establish an improvised facility for needful care and growth of rescued animals
    3. Provide proper food, adequate shelter and health care to Snow leopard cub captured recently and
    4. Help the concerned department manage rescued animals appropriately.

Did you know?

Attempting to import a snow leopard hide into the USA is punishable by a fine of up to a $25,000.

In Nepal such trade could mean a 5-15 year jail sentence.
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