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Snow Leopard Foundation (SLF)
A non-profit organization set up under section 42 of the companies Ordinance 1984 with Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan.
Affiliated with the Snow Leopard Trust, USA, the SLF is dedicated to conserve viable populations of snow leopards and other wild carnivores as an integral part of landscapes across Pakistan.
SLF at a Glance
Livestock vaccinated bi-annually through ecosystem health program
Camera trap stations established to explore 30% of snow leopard range
Field staff of Parks & Wildlife trained in wildlife surveys
Ecosystem Health Workers trained to eliminate diseases in snow leopard range
Livestock protected from mass killing through predator proof corrals
Post graduate students engaged in research on snow leopards, prey species & ecosystem
AIMS & OBJECTIVES
- Enhance public awareness and understanding of snow leopard ecology, conservation status and needs, and management
- Promote the snow leopard as a flagship for conservation of montane wildlife of Pakistan.
- Fill gaps in conservation related information through fostering well-designed research on snow leopards, other carnivores, their prey species and habitats.
- Develop and promote sound stewardship of snow leopards and other carnivores through scientifically based population, habitat, and natural resource use management
- Support government in improving functionality and management of Protected Areas and enabling sound conservation policies.
- Promote environment, develop capacity, and facilitate ecological research in Pakistan
An Elusive Beauty-Helping in Strengthening Economies
The Snow Leopard (Uncia uncia), known for its beauty, are perfectly adapted to the cold and dry habitats. This remarkable species plays a key role as both top predator and an indicator of the health of its high-altitude habitat. If snow leopards thrive so will countless other species, as well as the millions of people whose livelihoods depend on the rivers flowing down from Central Asia's mountains. Indeed, snow leopard habitat provides important resources for local communities – from food and health for livestock, cash income from trophy hunting of prey species, fuel wood, meat, wool, fruits and water sources for millions of people downstream, employment opportunities, tourism, medicinal herbs collected and marketed by communities. The species also serves as a link with the international community and possesses potential for trans-boundary agreements and means of commitment which ultimately helps in community uplift and strengthening.
Most Spectacular and Most Feared Creatures…
Large carnivores like big felids and canids have a profound impact on biological communities. They alter the structure and function of entire ecosystems by regulating or limiting the number of prey species. They are also considered to be key umbrella species as their presence often benefits other life forms. Biological traits that make species most vulnerable to extinction, like large home ranges, low densities, narrow geographical ranges, etc., are unfortunately best reflected in large carnivores. Rare, elusive and dangerous carnivores are also difficult to study.
Advancing methodologies to better monitor carnivores and understand their ecological needs, and exploring effective means of their coexistence with local communities are key actions to save these majestic animals, and make core of the SLF conservation strategy.
Mysterious - yet Least Explored…
Being both hunter and hunted, small carnivores (weighing < 0.5 kg), are mysterious yet least explored among mammalian carnivores. They make an important component of ecological processes, contributed in development of many ecological concepts, yet remain elusive in the literature because they are notoriously difficult to study in the wild. Taking advantage of advance technology, SLF is enhancing knowledge on small carnivore fauna of Pakistan.
Help measuring the functioning of ecosystem…
Literally, “Ungulate” refers to any animal with hooves- a hoof being an enlarged toenail. It has two orders Artiodactyla (even-toed) and Perissodactyla (odd-toed), important wild ungulates of Pakistan are Markhor, Urial, Ibex, Musk deer, Blue sheep and Marco Polo sheep; these are main prey base of endangered snow leopard and source of economic benefits through sustainable trophy hunting for local communities. Proper monitoring is always deemed necessary by conservationist to measure conservation interventions as well as for proper functioning of ecosystems. SLF is monitoring wild ungulate populations in its program sites using advanced methods, doing research to understand ungulates’ various ecological aspects, and working with local communities to conserve them.
- January 31, 2017
- December 31, 2016
RESEARCH & MONITORING
Objective oriented research to gather critical information required for conservation, like assessing population of snow leopard and other carnivores and their prey base, determining suitable habitats, assessing wildlife-human conflict levels, and identifying potential opportunities for conservation programs. Research is used as a tool for designing as well as evaluating conservation programs.
Since, its inception SLF has pioneered some state-of-the-art and cross cutting ecological research protocols in Pakistan, which could be taken as the lifeline for the biodiversity conservation in one of the jagged habitats of the country. The highlights of the scientific endeavors included:
- Human-Carnivores interaction surveys
- Occupancy surveys
- Camera trapping
- Genetic studies
- Habitat Modeling
COMMUNITY BASED CONSERVATION
A conservation program cannot be effective without public support. SLF builds partnerships with concerned communities and stakeholders, and introduces innovative interventions for improving their livelihood conditions with the ultimate aim of promoting conservation.
Community based conservation programs aim to manage and ameliorate the conflict between wildlife conservation and economic development by encouraging rural communities to balance their monetary needs with their respect for environment.Conservation programs include:
- Animal Health & Vaccination Program
- Snow Leopard Enterprise (SLE)
- Livestock Support Program > Livestock Insurance
EDUCATION & AWARNESS
One of the major threats to the survival of carnivores in Pakistan is the lack of awareness and support. The overall goal of this component is to inculcate sense of stewardship and love for carnivores especially snow leopard and its fragile mountain ecosystem in the communities through trainings, awareness campaigns, and developing resource materials.The following activities were undertaken under this component.
Capacity Building of Stakeholders
Shortage of trained human resource to tackle conservation and research issues relating wildlife conservation is another threat to the biodiversity of the country. Realizing the need SLF is helping develop skilled resource base in the country by providing avenues to the stakeholders and students to enhance their research skills through on field training, workshops, and sponsoring and supervising the research work of university students.
Dissemination of Scientific Information
Research findings are made available to the interested stakeholders and national as well as international research arena in the form of scientific papers, short communications in national and international journals and by developing resource material like brochures, fact sheets, posters, and newsletters.
Students from various national and international universities are associated with SLF for their research work as a part of their thesis. SLF facilitates the associated students in research activities through financial and technical support.