The elusive ghost of the mountain lives at high altitudes in remote habitats. Their secretive nature and low natural population density make them extremely difficult to study. That’s why remote-sensor research cameras (known as camera traps) are commonly used to survey snow leopard populations.
We asked some of our team members to share what gives them hope for the future of snow leopards. As is often the case, it was difficult to pin them down since so many are out in the field at any given time. But a few found time to let us know what motivates and energizes them every day. Not surprisingly, a lot of that inspiration comes from YOU and our incredible community partners living in snow leopard landscapes.
A letter from Executive Director, Dr. Charu Mishra
From the Desk of Deputy Director, Marissa Niranjan: Towards the end of 2020, I received an email from our wonderful Grant Writer, Deborah Turnbull, who combs through all our research camera photos looking for the best options for reports and outreach materials. The subject read, “Tailless snow leopard, Nemegt Mongolia.”
As part of our long-term efforts to track and better understand snow leopards and their prey, we are currently following three GPS collared snow leopards and two collared ibex (more on how three ibex became two below). Since we collared our first snow leopard in the South Gobi in 2008, we’ve collected more than 60,000 locations from a total of 34 snow leopards.
The beauty of snow leopard conservation is that it’s not just about protecting snow leopards. It’s about saving a whole diversity of species and habitats. As apex predators with large home ranges, snow leopards create an “umbrella” effect: protecting them implies protecting the entire high mountain ecosystem.
Our colleague in Mongolia shared a moving story about the challenges of living with snow leopards. While it’s easy to understand how its mythical nature and wild beauty inspire such awe and wonder, it can be difficult to reconcile that with the other dimension of this apex predator. Yes, it’s a carnivore that kills wild prey but it also sometimes kills domestic livestock. Many of the people living in snow leopard habitat depend on their herds of sheep, goats, camels, cattle or yaks for their livelihood. Losing even one animal to snow leopard predation can be devastating, as detailed in the story below.
DOWNLOAD FULL PRESS RELEASE How the power of nature conservation fosters international cooperation Seattle, WA | September 22, 2022 The BBVA Foundation’s Biodiversity Conservation Awards honored Snow Leopard Trust with its Worldwide Award in recognition of its role in helping to create and support the Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP), a first-of-its-kind …
We’ll let you in on a little secret, when our field teams upload a new batch of camera trap photos to our dropbox, we’re like little kids opening a present. We can’t wait to see what our research cameras captured. These snow leopard ‘selfies’ collected by our scientists and rangers are essential to our conservation work. They tell us so much about snow leopard populations, behavior, ecology and habitat use and help inform global conservation efforts. Bonus – they’re also really beautiful. Meet the cats of Nemegt in our latest update from the field.
You’re never too young (or too old) to fall in love with snow leopards. Some of our greatest supporters are less than ten-years-old. Just in time for back-to-school month, a group of 3rd-graders asked six of our Senior Conservation Scientists some pretty amazing questions about snow leopards.