Saving the Ghosts of the Himalayas

The white blur of a swift snow leopard truly gives an illusion of a ghost passing by.  How amazing would it be to see these beautiful shy creatures in their natural habitat!

Sadly, snow leopards are on the red list of threatened species and need urgent help to save them from extinction. According to a study, the estimated number of snow leopards remaining in the wild is 4500-7000 only.??

These rare animals are found in the high reaches of the Himalayan Mountains and Ladakh is one of the last few refuges of the endangered cats. Several reasons are responsible for their declining numbers. The bones, skin and organs of large cats is used in traditional Asian medicines and although tigers are the most preferred species for this purpose, they are very rare in such high altitude regions. So snow leopards are the best available option and thus fetch huge earnings for the poachers.?

With depleting natural resources due to human interference, the fragile mountain grasslands are damaged resulting in fewer animals reaching out to the snow leopard regions for grazing. This leaves the snow leopard with no choice but to prey on the domestic livestock. The unhappy farmers retaliate by killing these large cats.?

The Snow Leopard Conservancy is just one of many organizations that are trying to help the troubled animals of the world. It has grown out of Dr. Rodney Jackson thirty year experience of working closely with wild snow leopards and their mountain habitat.

The Snow Leopard Conservancy's range country educational activities are centered on simple teaching tools appropriate for remote rural areas where electricity is the exception and schools function under bare-bones conditions. They work through a network of local teachers, teacher-trainers and nonprofit organizations, to develop and conduct classroom and after-school activities to educate people on the importance of preserving their natural habitat and hence wild creatures.??

In 2005, the Snow Leopard Conservancy developed a community-based environmental education program for rural Ladakh, focused on conservation of snow leopards and other wildlife of the local trans-Himalayan region.?Simple solutions are found which can go a long way in preserving the natural world, like building and maintaining predator proof corrals to keep their animals safe from snow leopards.

http://snowleopardconservancy.org/The habitat of these snow leopards in Ladakh is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Most people visit Ladakh for the culture, it popular festivals and the beautiful monasteries. Snow leopards are the hidden secret of Ladakh, but more adventure tourists now visit its difficult terrain in search of the snow leopards.

The development of snow leopard tourism is helping to save these animals from extinction. Snow Leopard Conservancy helps local people develop lodging for people who are traveling through snow leopard lands. Called home stays, these lodgings are rustic "bed and breakfast" accommodations where travelers can meet local people, learn about local customs, enjoy local foods, and hike with expert local guides who show them around the nearby countryside.

And there is always a chance the traveler will get to see a snow leopard! The money that local people receive for these services helps offset snow leopard depredation and makes the snow leopards an asset rather than a liability.??

For more information on the conservation team in Ladakh..

 
 

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