Level Up your Snow Leopard Conservation IQ for Endangered Species Day

The third Friday in May is Endangered Species Day. It’s a day to celebrate, learn more about and get involved in the herculean efforts to protect threatened and endangered wildlife worldwide. Since we've had an influx of new supporters, we’d like to share more about our ever-evolving work to protect snow leopards for future generations.

Snow leopards live in vast home ranges across the high mountains of Asia. While securing their critical habitats through protected areas is important, it isn’t enough. Protected areas have often neglected the rights and well-being of human populations already living there. Furthermore, snow leopards are landscape species, requiring huge areas. Typically, individual snow leopards move well beyond protected area boundaries, and they must be conserved on lands that are also used by people. 

To safeguard these endangered cats, we partner with communities of local and indigenous peoples living across this vast, mountainous landscape. Our conservation approach promotes ethical ways for snow leopards and people to coexist while protecting their shared habitat. 

Our Conservation Initiatives Foster Coexistence with Snow Leopards

Our partner communities actively protect between 70,000 and 150,000 sq. km of snow leopard habitat. 159 communities are engaged in some or all of the following snow leopard-friendly conservation programs.

Snow Leopard Enterprises

Snow Leopard Enterprises (SLE) is an award-winning, conservation-focused handicrafts brand that helps create sustainable economic opportunities for women and families living in snow leopard habitat. This women-led initiative promotes the production and sale of handmade products to augment livelihoods. Participating communities are also actively involved in conservation actions to protect snow leopards.

SLE also offers women an opportunity to contribute to local conservation decision-making. Since its inception 26 years ago, it has put women at the forefront of community conservation decisions.

Read more about women changing the face of conservation: Socks for Dinner?Snow Leopard Hero’s Journey

Livestock Insurance

The loss of even a single animal to predation can create significant financial hardship for herder families. Our community-led livestock insurance program helps rural communities reduce the economic impact of snow leopard predation by providing compensation for lost animals through a shared insurance fund. This initiative serves as a safety net for herders, enabling them to better cope with occasional predation and ultimately promoting coexistence with snow leopards and other predators.

Read more about this program in action: The Reality of Living with Snow Leopards

Livestock Vaccination

Some herder families in snow leopard habitat can lose up to five times more livestock to diseases than predation. The livestock vaccination and ecosystem health program helps build healthier herds by offering vaccines and animal husbandry training in snow leopard communities. It has reduced mortality from disease by roughly 60% while improving animal health and the rural economy.  This increased earning potential helps herders better withstand livelihood risks and reduces negative attitudes towards snow leopards.

Read more about the successes of this program: Vaccination Program Cuts Livestock Mortality In Half

Predation Prevention

Livestock losses to predation are part of life for many herding communities. Even the loss of a single animal can mean the loss of monthly income for a family. It is, therefore, particularly devastating when snow leopards manage to enter poorly constructed livestock corrals, which typically results in multiple livestock being killed in a single event. Desperate herders sometimes retaliate against snow leopards and other predators by killing them.

Our collaborative predator-proof corral initiative breaks this cycle by fortifying them to protect livestock. These improved corrals can significantly reduce predation incidents and safeguard household livelihoods. In India, some of our partner communities have reported up to 90% fewer predation incidents.

Citizen-Ranger Wildlife Protection

Illegal hunting continues to threaten snow leopards and their prey species in large parts of their range. Committed wildlife rangers are crucial to protecting this precious biodiversity. They risk their lives to protect wildlife, often for little pay or social recognition.

Our Citizen-Ranger Wildlife Protection Program trains, celebrates and honors those who serve on the frontlines of conservation. It helps support these defenders of nature and encourages local communities to work with them to protect their native wildlife.

Read more about this program: Snow leopard ranger program expands to Mongolia and Pakistan

Conservation Education

Our conservation education initiatives are designed to create awareness about the value of nature and inspire positive attitudes toward wildlife. These programs include children’s eco-camps, annual Snow Leopard Day celebrations, conservation newsletters for herder communities and other local stakeholders and educational materials for schools, including lectures, videos, posters and environmental WhatsApp groups for teachers and students.

Read more about our eco-camp program for kids in Kyrgyzstan: Give a boy a camera and he’ll photograph birds all day

Climate Adaptation Programs

The lives of snow leopards and the indigenous peoples of High Asia are as intertwined with glaciers and snow as they are with each other. Known as Earth’s Third Pole, this unique part of the planet they share is estimated to be warming two times faster than the average rate of warming in the Northern Hemisphere. To ensure snow leopards roam these peaks for generations, we must prepare for a future when the snow melts.

Our climate adaptation programs help local and indigenous communities diversify their livelihood options, strengthening their ability to coexist with snow leopards and other biodiversity.

Read more about our climate adaptation programs in action: How bees and trees are protecting snow leopards | How women in Pakistan are protecting snow leopards

If you’d like to support these innovative strategies to protect snow leopards please consider making a donation today.

Photo credits: Sascha Fonseca, SLCF-Mongolia, SLF-Kyrgyzstan, NCF-India, Shawna Peckham


  1. The amount they are reimbursed for the loss of an animal is appalling; seems ‘insurance’ companies the world over are the same. I would like to see, and be a part of somehow, seeing a much greater compensation package. As ranchers, we know too well both the financial and emotional trauma of losing an animal. We don’t ranch/tend livestock because we hate animals and because it’s so lucrative…we love the way of life, and love and care for those that are in our care whether it be a giant camel or a goofy little chicken.

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