On International Snow Leopard Day, join conservationist Dr Jonny Hanson for an interactive and engaging exploration of the science of snow leopards. From natural selection and camera trapping to social surveys and ecosystem services, learn about the natural history of and threats to this elusive big cat, its coexistence with local communities, and the significance of its mountain home for the world and all its inhabitants. Drawing on Jonny’s experience of working with snow leopards in captivity, his research on snow leopard conservation in the field, and his ongoing involvement in snow leopard conservation, this talk blends science and adventure, humour and wonder, in this inspiring profile of the Mountain Ghost.
My poster presentation at the International Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Forum, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, 24th – 26th August 2017:
Jonny’s research is profiled in this article on pioneering postgraduates at the University of Cambridge.
Jonny’s recent presentation on his research at the 17th Student Conference on Conservation Science at the University of Cambridge, 22nd – 24th March.
Presentation abstract (summary)
Given the prevalence of poverty and pastoralism across the snow leopard’s range, this talk addresses the assumptions that more diverse and resilient livelihoods, and a decentralised conservation governance model, will improve attitudes to and reduce conflict with the species. It also tests these assumptions in relation to snow leopard conservation. Using systematic sampling, a quantitative questionnaire was administered to 705 households at two sites in Nepal: Sagarmatha National Park, with a centralised governance model; and Annapurna Conservation Area, with a decentralised one. Seventy qualitative interviews were also collected for cross-methods triangulation. Regression models were the main form of analysis.
Attitudes to snow leopards were best predicted by attitudes to snow leopard conservation and numbers of livestock; with attitudes to snow leopard conservation, it was attitudes to snow leopards and livelihoods. For conflict with snow leopards and with snow leopard conservation, the number of livestock lost to all forms of mortality, and not just snow leopards, was the foremost predictor. The correlation between attitudes to snow leopards and attitudes to snow leopard conservation demonstrates that the way conservation is pursued and perceived needs consideration. Nevertheless, livelihoods predicted attitudes more than governance. The prediction of conflict by livestock lost – rather than owned – illustrates the significance of husbandry factors for conservation.
And you thought they were just big hairy cows!
[There are] yaks [male yak], naks [female yak], cow-hybrids [cow x yak], cows and zopkyos [ox x nak]. Most of the households own livestock, primarily yaks and cow-hyrbids. Cow-hybrids are used for milk, and yaks and hybrids are used for transportation. Yaks and naks are also used for wool. Continue reading
It’s a rich man’s world. At least it seems that way if snow leopards have eaten your livestock and your’re not getting compensated by those you think have all the money.
50% of the people like…[the park authority]…,50% of the people don’t like it. There is a lot of budget with…[them]…and the locals don’t see it being utilised well and therefore the many locals don’t like…[the park authority]. They perceive that the entrance fee goes to staff salaries. Re: the compensation scheme, people think it’s unnecessary to insure as the…[compensation]…is so small. [Nearby]…4 herders didn’t get any compensation from the insurance scheme so they became angry and the scheme is not working there. Continue reading
The mixed blessings of new roads and increasing tourist numbers for Himalayan communities.
# Interview 1
There are bigger problems than snow leopard conservation. The…[park]…is being ruined by roads and pollution – tourism is the main livelihood and…[the park authority]…does nothing. Soon nobody will come to trek except the Israelis who want everything for free. Continue reading
Snow leopards: it seems you either love ’em or hate ’em, or are maybe somewhere in-between. The quotes of the day…
# Interview 1
The locals are happy with the measures as they understand conservation now, its only the ban of killing the snow leopard they don’t understand as the animal is troubling local people a lot. The only conflict is the ‘no kill’ rule – why can’t they kill it? – their livelihood is derived from livestock which the leopard kills. What can they do? Why is…[the park authority]…protecting it? Punishment for killing snow leopard is 5 years in jail and 100,000 rupees [US$ 1,000] fine. Continue reading
The quotes of the day: an alleged new talent to add to the snow leopard’s considerable tally, but one without any known biological basis.
# Interview 1
It has happened a farmer has 10 goats – worth 20,000 rupees [US$ 200] each. The leopard kills the whole herd and sucks the blood – 200,000 rupees [US$ 2,000] loss. You are very lucky if you get 20,000 rupees [US$ 200] from…[the park management]…as total compensation.
# Interview 2
Last year 3 of her cows were eaten by the snow leopard in her in-house shed. It’s only been recently the snow leopard is ascending into the villages [from higher altitudes]. One household lost 8 goats to the snow leopard in the last 12 months, the…[snow leopard]…only drinks the blood and leaves the animal.