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Protection of the Snow Leopard in Tajikistan

Snow leopards in Tajikistan face multiple difficulties due to the growing population of mountain communities and climate changes. The protection programme lead by NABU in co-operation with ANCOT includes raising awareness about the importance of the animals and implementing a compensation system to prevent human-wildlife conflicts.
Organization
NABU ANCOT
Natural Project
Tajikistan
Started
09/2020
Status
In progress
project summary

Due to the growing population of mountain communities in the highlands and the fact that humans use more and more areas, conflicts with snow leopards are becoming more and more frequent. In some cases, they have already led to the killing of the strictly protected species. Measures are urgently needed to mitigate the conflict.

Expedition to the Pamir Mountains, Tajikistan

©ANCOT

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Since 2016, 53 attacks on farm animals have been recorded, and 905 animals have been killed by snow leopards, 95% of the goats and sheep. 84% of the attacks took place in unsafe stables. The monitoring shows that conflicts mainly occur during the autumn and winter season and are directly related to the food supply. For example, as soon as marmots start their hibernation, the probability of attacks increases, shepherds have to expect snow leopards' appearance during this time constantly. As a result, farm animals have to be supervised 24/7 on the pasture, which is hardly affordable for the herders.

The construction of snow leopard-safe stables and implementing a compensation/insurance system is the most effective method to solve the conflict, and also the project’s main goal.

An important activity among others is building strong and trusting relationships with local communities, familiarizing residents with the work of ANCOT, and compensating for killed livestock. Moreover, the state of corrals in places of actual or potential conflict will be monitored to identify weaknesses.

In the first month after the project launching, 7 villages of Bartang valley have been visited: Gudara, BAsid, Barbara, Razuj, Darjomch, Khidjez. During this time first steps in building a trust relationship with the locals were made. The ANCOT team was also acquainted with the problem more deeply through interaction with the local community and corrals' analysis.

 

Photos © ANCOT