The snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is categorized as an ’Endangered’ species in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and protected by the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1973 of Nepal; thereby making it a priority species for conservation in the country.
In the recent Snow Leopard Network threat analysis (SLN, 2014), prey reduction due to illegal hunting and direct killing in retribution for livestock depredation are presented as ‘High threat” to snow leopards survival. Local people residing in Nepal’s high-mountain, including Humla and its neighboring area are economically challenged and struggle to develop sustainable livelihoods given their high dependency upon limited, fragile natural resources. Involvement of local people in wildlife conservation, habitat management and livelihoods development should be undertaken hand in hand. At present livestock depredation is perhaps the most serious threat to survival of the endangered snow leopard in Humla and adjoining areas in N- W Nepal.
Managing human–snow leopard conflict is of utmost priority for the continuing survival of snow leopards in areas where local communities can live and co-exist in harmony with snow leopards. This will be achieved by engaging community people in field research through reliable scientific data collection and by promoting awareness of snow leopard and alpine ecosystems. The key program under this project includes:
- Raising awareness among the local people about the ecological importance of snow leopard and associated religious-cultural values
- Transfer of knowledge and training to enable youths and adults to serve as “citizen scientists” to monitor the snow leopard and its prey in long term basis.
- Opportunities to herders for livelihood improvement through incentive-based compensation schemes, predator proof safe corrals, income generation activities and tourism promotion.