A Watershed in Snow Leopard Conservation?

Press Release, October 10, 2013

Later this month, high-level government delegations from all 12 snow leopard range countries will get together in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, for the Global Snow Leopard Conservation Forum – a historic opportunity to save these endangered cats!

Kyrgyz snow leopard
A snow leopard in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains. Photo by Kyle McCarthy

October 23, 2013, promises to go down in history as a landmark date for snow leopards. On this day, heads of delegations from all 12 snow leopard range countries are expected to sign the Bishkek Declaration on the Conservation of Snow Leopards – an unprecedented commitment to ensuring a safe future for the endangered cat!

The Global Snow Leopard Conservation Forum’s goal is for all the range countries to sign a declaration committing to specific actions to ensure the survival of the endangered snow leopard, to support a comprehensive and unifying range-wide snow leopard conservation program for Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; and to mobilize  much needed funds to carry-out the conservation plans that will be established.

The Global Snow Leopard Forum is the result of an initiative by the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Almazbek Atambaev. Modeling this event on the successful International Tiger Forum hosted in 2010 in St. Petersburg, President Atambaev is drawing on the experience of the Global Tiger Initiative (GTI), which is housed within the auspices of the World Bank. The Bank has encouraged the active involvement of the snow leopard conservation community including many leading NGOs and the Snow Leopard Network. As the preeminent conservation organization solely focused on saving the critically endangered snow leopard, the Snow Leopard Trust is the Bank’s key technical partner in this initiative, playing a critical role in planning, organizing, and facilitating the Global Forum.

Expected Outcomes

When the forum convenes on October 22nd and 23rd, it is expected to result in:

  • A signed declaration from every range country to support snow leopard conservation
  • A ‘Global Snow Leopard Conservation Program’ that will facilitate conservation efforts across all range states
  • National plans for country-by-country implementation—even for countries that have never created snow leopard conservation plans in the past; and
  • Operational and financial resources for snow leopards and the unique cultures and mountain ecosystems that support them.

The potential presented by the Global Snow Leopard Conservation Forum to secure support from range country governments as well as international donors is unprecedented, and we’re excited about this historic opportunity to save snow leopards”, says Brad Rutherford, the Snow Leopard Trust’s Executive Director.

Brad Rutherford will be joined in Bishkek by the Trust’s Science and Conservation Director Charudutt Mishra, and Rhetick Sengupta, Vice-President of the Board of Directors. They will be available for interviews and comments during the Global Forum whenever their schedules allow.

Please contact social@snowleopard.org or @snowleopards on Twitter for all inquiries during the Global Forum on October 22nd and 23rd. Before the Forum, please contact Brad Rutherford (brad@snowleopard.org, 206-634-2421) for any questions.

We will keep you updated on the developments in Bishkek as they unfold! Follow the Snow Leopard Trust on Twitter and like us on Facebook for the most up-to-date news.


  1. Again and again I say this: Who are we, human beings, to take us the right to decide to distinct other species from this earth. Why and for what?
    In these cases when the big wild cats are involved it only has to do with huntingtrophies, superstition – for instance, that we should gain some power by eating some elements from big wild cats and last but least we claim their territories, as being ours, while moving into the forests.

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