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Reconciling Sustainable Development of Mountain Communities With Large Carnivore Conservation Lessons From Pakistan

  • IUCN Cat Specialist Group
  • Karakoram International University Gilgit, Gilgit-Biltistan, Pakistan
  • University of Baltistan SkarduPakistan
  • Snow Leopard Conservancy

Abstract and Figures

While the world is becoming increasingly interconnected and interdependent, physically and culturally, the wildlife of remote mountain regions is being affected both positively and negatively by such interconnectedness. In the case of snow leopards, the conservation impact has been largely, and rather unexpectedly, positive: Species-focused conservation projects, such as Project Snow Leopard (PSL) in Gilgit-Baltistan, remain mainly externally driven initiatives. PSL, initiated as a small pilot project in 1998, has relied on an approach that includes the use of an insurance scheme, the deployment of mitigation measures, and the empowerment of local governance. This approach has been successful in reducing the conflict with snow leopards and has built greater tolerance toward them. PSL is managed by local communities and cofinanced by them. PSL communities throughout the region are bearing the burden of carnivore conservation, and they are unwittingly subsidizing their populations by "feeding" them their livestock even though they are an economic threat to them. In this article, we argue that external intervention in the form of efforts that help alleviate the consequences of conflict through local empowerment have had a positive impact on the local mountain societies. We also show that such interventions have resulted in tangible conservation results, with the number of snow leopards staying at least stable. Our experience also shows that while the incentive component is critical, it is also part of a larger approach-one that includes developing and supporting local governance structures, improving access to education, and offering a range of tools to reduce the conflict that can be implemented locally. Finally, we suggest that investing in this approach-one that recognizes the species and local-context complexities surrounding the implementation of conservation incentives-can continue to inform international practices and guidelines for reducing human-wildlife conflicts worldwide.
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Reconciling Sustainable Development of Mountain Communities With Large
Carnivore Conservation
Author(s): Tatjana Rosen, Shafqat Hussain, Ghulam Mohammad, Rodney Jackson, Jan E. Janecka, and
Stefan Michel
Source: Mountain Research and Development, 32(3):286-293. 2012.
Published By: International Mountain Society
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Reconciling Sustainable Development of Mountain
Communities With Large Carnivore Conservation
Lessons From Pakistan
Tatjana Rosen
*, Shafqat Hussain
, Ghulam Mohammad
, Rodney Jackson
, Jan E. Janecka
, and Stefan Michel
* Corresponding author:
Wildlife Conservation Society and Project Snow Leopard, 77 Lenin Street, Khorog 736000, Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province, Tajikistan
Project Snow Leopard and Trinity College, 300 Summit Street, Hartford, CT 06106, USA
Project Snow Leopard, Sadpara Road, Skardu, Pakistan
Snow Leopard Conservancy, 18030 Comstock Avenue, Sonoma, CA 95476, USA
Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
Nature Protection Team, 77 Lenin Street, Khorog 736000, Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province, Tajikistan
Open access article: please credit the authors and the full source.
While the world is
becoming increasingly
interconnected and
physically and culturally,
the wildlife of remote
mountain regions is being
affected both positively
and negatively by such
interconnectedness. In
the case of snow leopards, the conservation impact has been
largely, and rather unexpectedly, positive: Species-focused
conservation projects, such as Project Snow Leopard (PSL) in
Gilgit-Baltistan, remain mainly externally driven initiatives.
PSL, initiated as a small pilot project in 1998, has relied on an
approach that includes the use of an insurance scheme, the
deployment of mitigation measures, and the empowerment of
local governance. This approach has been successful in
reducing the conflict with snow leopards and has built greater
tolerance toward them. PSL is managed by local communities
and cofinanced by them. PSL communities throughout the
region are bearing the burden of carnivore conservation, and
they are unwittingly subsidizing their populations by ‘‘feeding’
them their livestock even though they are an economic threat
to them. In this article, we argue that external intervention in
the form of efforts that help alleviate the consequences of
conflict through local empowerment have had a positive
impact on the local mountain societies. We also show that
such interventions have resulted in tangible conservation
results, with the number of snow leopards staying at least
stable. Our experience also shows that while the incentive
component is critical, it is also part of a larger approach—one
that includes developing and supporting local governance
structures, improving access to education, and offering a
range of tools to reduce the conflict that can be implemented
locally. Finally, we suggest that investing in this approach—
one that recognizes the species and local-context
complexities surrounding the implementation of conservation
incentives—can continue to inform international practices and
guidelines for reducing human–wildlife conflicts worldwide.
Keywords: Carnivores; conflict; conservation; incentives;
livestock; insurance scheme; community empowerment;
Peer-reviewed: April 2012 Accepted: June 2012
A geography of conflicts
In a region where three of the world’s highest mountain
ranges—the Himalayas, the Karakorams, and the Hindu
Kush—collide, in Gilgit-Baltistan of northern Pakistan,
small independent communities eke out a living. The
incredible geographic variation found there has led to an
equally diverse assemblage of biodiversity, ethnicities, and
languages due to the region’s isolating mountains and
remote location. Because of the importance of natural
resources to small mountain communities in this region,
it is also a critically important conservation landscape.
These small mountain communities are faced with many
challenges: the severity of the geography, their isolation,
the absence of access to external markets, and the threat
of natural disasters that strike with little or no warning
(Kreutzmann 1993; Uhlig and Kreutzmann 1995; Edwards
Compounding some of these effects, the mountains
and valleys where these communities live are also home to
two carnivores, snow leopard and wolf, which prey upon
domestic livestock, often causing economic damage and
threatening village-level food security. For these
communities, livestock is an important component of
their livelihoods and in many cases the major one
(Figure 1). Retaliatory killing often occurs in response to
the depredations that herders suffer. A decline in the
availability of wild ungulates, a key component of the
snow leopard diet, due to extensive hunting practices has
caused a significant shift in predation pressure toward
Transformation knowledge
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Mountain Research and Development Vol 32 No 3 Aug 2012: 286–293 ß2012 by the authors286
domestic stock. While Himalayan ibex (Capra sibirica) and
in some areas markhor (Capra falconeri) remain important
food staples, along with other small mammals and birds,
snow leopards feed to a large degree on domestic
livestock, including yak, goat, and sheep (Mishra 1997;
Anwar et al 2011).
Depredations occur mostly in the winter, when snow
leopards break into corrals and barns, and in June, when
livestock’s arrival on the high summer pastures coincides
with the increasing dietary demands of a snow leopard
feeding cubs. A heavy government penalty for killing
snow leopards makes farmers reluctant to tell outsiders
about any killings, thus making it hard to determine how
many snow leopards are actually being killed due to
human–wildlife conflict. However, in many situations
snow leopards have been caught alive and local farmers
have specifically sought the assistance of local
conservation organizations to help release the leopards
back into the wild.
Based on interviews (Hussain 2003), many farmers and
communities have understood that they could benefit
from protecting the snow leopard rather than killing it.
The loss of livestock to snow leopards is a random risk: a
snow leopard does not choose the owner of the animals it
kills. Therefore, over the years, the probability of being
hit by such a loss is randomly but evenly distributed
among the farmers, a pattern that is most pronounced on
summer pastures where the livestock herds are managed
communally by a pool of men or women.
This has emerged as a powerful argument in favor of
collective coverage of farmers’ individual risk, which led
to the launch in 1998 of a pilot project in Skoyo, in the
Rondu valley, called Project Snow Leopard (PSL). PSL’s
approach relied on the idea of setting aside a collective
pool of money equal to the value of the average annual
loss rate. This would allow the community to spread the
risk and reduce the impact of losses. The project also
increasingly relied on a broader approach extending
beyond an insurance scheme to the deployment of
mitigation measures, such as the use of predator-proof
corrals, and community empowerment, through the
establishment of Snow Leopard Conservation
Committees that effectively manage the project.
Thirteen years later, the project has expanded into 10
villages in 3 valleys (Figure 2) and has enjoyed a good
share of success in reducing conflicts with snow leopards
by building greater tolerance toward them. The affected
communities of Gilgit-Baltistan have understood the
value the international community places on snow
leopard; they have adapted by largely accepting the
presence of snow leopards and are now participating in a
mutually respectful partnership that merges local and
global worldviews of conservation and more harmonious
coexistence with carnivores.
In this article, we briefly discuss the literature on the
incentives deployed as a tool for building support for
carnivore conservation; we also describe the evolution of
PSL, its expansion and impact on the local snow leopard
population, and socioeconomic changes in the villages. We
discuss challenges faced, limitations of the current
approach, and opportunities for further improvement.
Finally, we highlight the influence of PSL on carnivore
conservation efforts in mountain communities worldwide.
Human–wildlife conflicts: Are incentive
measures effective?
Conflicts between humans and wildlife are escalating, as
human activities and wildlife increasingly encroach upon
each other. Conflict arises when wildlife species,
FIGURE 1 Yak on one of the summer pastures of Hushey. (Photo by Tanya Rosen)
Mountain Research and Development
particularly carnivores, pose a real or perceived threat to
life and property. Myth, folklore, religious, and economic
convictions create a powerful incentive among humans to
resolve this conflict by eliminating the species in question.
Wolf eradication in the United States is a prime example
of this (Coleman 2004). Attitudinal studies show that
people with negative attitudes toward certain wildlife
species are more likely to respond to future damage by
retributive killing or supporting killing by others (Don
Carlos et al 2009; Liu et al 2010); as a result, they may
contribute to the decline of these populations (Kellert et
al 1996; Ogada et al 2003). That makes human–wildlife
conflicts one of the key drivers of biodiversity loss, along
with illegal trade in endangered species parts (World
Bank 2005; Simms et al 2011) and ongoing habitat loss.
Policies and laws seeking to address conservation by
creating protected areas and conservation corridors have
occasionally exacerbated such conflict, often by ignoring
the needs of local people and the impacts on livelihoods
by proposed measures aimed at exclusively protecting
As the Convention on Biological Diversity, at its 10th
Conference of the Parties in 2011, has come to recognize,
there is a need to develop best practices to address
conflicts among biodiversity conservation, sustainable
use, pastoralism, and agriculture.
In developing these best practices, there is ample
literature on incentives devised to promote carnivore
conservation (Ciucci and Boitani 1998; Ferraro and Kiss
2002; Cilliers 2003; Hussain 2003; Mishra et al 2003;
Agarwala et al 2010). However, reducing conflict with
carnivores and increasing their acceptance by pastoralists
rests not only on implementing the right set of incentives
but also on identifying the appropriate local context-
relevant incentives in combination with empowering local
decision-making processes. Initiatives and lessons that
put conservation more in the hands of those people
negatively affected by human–wildlife conflicts empower
them and thus are more likely to have beneficial and
lasting conservation impact.
However, a tacit aversion to compensation as an
incentive for reducing human–wildlife conflict remains
entrenched within many conservation institutions, both
nationally and internationally. This is due to the poor
performance of some compensation programs that either
inadequately compensate people for losses or do not
sufficiently protect wildlife. For instance, in government-
run programs, the typical lengthy and time-consuming
procedures for payouts make it difficult to file claims, and
governments have little capacity to verify claims. In
addition, the low amounts paid to claims make most
compensation programs ineffective (Mishra 1997; Jackson
and Wangchuk 2001) and may result in intensified
human–wildlife conflict.
Criticism of compensation schemes does not change
the basic fact that conservation costs and benefits are
unevenly distributed and that such discrepancy must be
resolved if wildlife are to be conserved. Verdale and
FIGURE 2 Map of the region, with location of villages with an insurance scheme. (Map based on original map by
Andreas Brodbeck published in Hussain 2000: 227)
Mountain Research and Development
Campos argue that compensation should be seen as a
subsidy that society should pay for ‘‘keeping the wildlife
alive’’ (2004: 3). Nyhus and Tilson, reporting on tiger–
human conflict from the Sumatra region in Indonesia,
suggest that ‘‘If carried out effectively, compensation can
shift the economic responsibility for carnivore
conservation away from farmers toward the supporters of
carnivore conservation’’ (2004: 72).
Madhusudan noted that in rural southern India,
villagers ‘‘seem willing to make small investments to protect
their livestock and crops from wildlife’ (2003: 474). Studies
also indicate that small farmers’ tolerance toward wildlife
increases as their losses are compensated (Ogada et al 2003;
Holmern et al 2007). In contrast, Lamarque et al (2009)
wrote that the International Union for Conservation of
Nature’s African Elephant Specialist Group and Human–
Elephant Conflict Task Force also advise against using
compensation for elephant damage and argue that it can
only at best address the symptoms and not the cause of the
problem. Similarly, Naughton-Treves et al (2003) noted
that farmers in the western United States who were
compensated by the federal or state government for their
losses were not entirely satisfied. They report no difference
in attitudes toward wolves among ranchers who had
received compensation and those who did not.
Beyond the recognition that the dynamics of
addressing conflicts in the United States bear many
differences with those in Central Asia, what makes the
conflict more intractable in parts of the United States and
incentive measures likely less effective is the possibility
that such conflict has been heavily litigated in the courts,
rather than on the ground by working closely with
ranchers, engaging them as stakeholders, and recognizing
that their livelihoods are deeply affected by the wildlife
that such laws seek to protect. The US compensation
programs—implemented to correct economic losses
suffered by ranchers from wolf and bear depredation of
cattle and intended as incentives for coexistence—were
not perceived as such by some ranchers, who viewed the
compensation program as offending the value of
ranching. Rather than seeing the survival of these species
at risk, ranchers are angered by regulations and the
protection offered brown bears and wolves under the
Endangered Species Act.
Finally, many studies of human–wildlife conflict focus
on local people’s attitudes toward wildlife. Perhaps an
equally insightful study would be to assess local people’s
attitudes toward conservationists and the role of
conservation institutions. Such a change in focus would
highlight the dissonance between the meaning and
significance of wildness to local societies and to outside
conservationists. Nowhere is this disjuncture more
prominent than in the debate over how to resolve the
conflict between rural herders and snow leopards.
PSL, started as a species-focused conservation project,
was mainly externally initiated. It was driven by the desire
to help local communities adapt to living and raising
livestock in the presence of snow leopards. However,
participating communities rapidly took ownership of the
project and recognized the value of conserving the species
as a way of improving their livelihoods. While the
financial incentives provided under the insurance scheme
play a critical role, the increased exposure to exchanges
and interactions with foreign visitors and organizations
have not changed the way local farmers in Baltistan view
snow leopards but at least shed light on how the rest of
the world sees them: not as a nuisance but as a highly
charismatic species. This gradual awareness by the local
communities of how snow leopards are perceived
worldwide, coupled with a sense of ownership of the
project, has created a new dynamic of acceptance of the
presence of this carnivore.
PSL: Assessing progress 13 years later
In Pakistan, snow leopards occur throughout the
mountains of the Northern Area, with an estimated
population totaling around 400 individuals (Hussain
2003). As already mentioned, snow leopards often kill
domestic livestock, thereby threatening livelihoods of
local farmers who generally retaliate by killing the
suspected predator. The typical local farmer in northern
Pakistan is poor, with an average annual per capita
income around US$400. A large majority of the local
community are agropastoralists, and their livestock
represents a significant asset in their overall economic
holdings (Ives 2001; Kreutzmann 2005). In addition,
livestock plays a key role in the household economy of
local people by insulating them against unexpected times
of scarcity. These farmers demand that those calling for
protection of the snow leopard provide the means to
compensate them for any financial loss they have to bear
because of these predators. Consequently, they look to
state, national, and international conservation
institutions and to private entities for such support.
Given that there are legal prohibitions against killing of
wildlife, even though the laws are hard to enforce, the
demands of the villagers are genuine. Retaliatory killing
of snow leopards often results from a rational choice by
local farmers: They are unwilling to subsidize the well-
being of a rare animal because it causes economic losses
to them. This kind of scenario sets the incentive structure
within which the human–wildlife conflict is framed. The
farmers have a strong incentive to kill a snow leopard and
thus safeguard their livelihoods yet have no incentive to
conserve it.
The main component of PSL is a community-managed
and community-operated village-based livestock
insurance scheme against losses arising from snow
leopard predation. PSL’s approach and design of the
insurance scheme has been described in detail by Hussain
(2000; Box 1).
Mountain Research and Development
In addition to the insurance scheme, PSL
implements—through separate funding—small-scale,
community-based infrastructure initiatives and provides
financial contributions for predator-proofing communal
corrals, remote camera-trap monitoring of the snow
leopard population, snow leopard diet and population
studies using DNA, and improved access to education in
the Basha valley as part of a broader incentive package for
snow leopard conservation.
PSL expanded in 2004 into 6 villages, mainly in the
Shigar and Basha valleys, and in 2006 into a total of 10
villages, the current number supported (Figure 2). Since
2007, PSL has paid out compensation for 184 animals,
totaling PKR 360,000, or about US$4000 (January 2012
exchange rate). Since 2010, PSL has provided insurance to
more than 400 households in 8 villages, insuring more
than 3000 head of livestock. Local communities have paid
more than PKR 160,000 (US$1695) in premium payments
in 2010. Since 2006, some US$13,000 have been spent on
corral improvement and small-scale infrastructure
projects, with another US$4200 spent on education. The
total area of snow leopard habitat in the PSL’s project
area is about 5000 km
, whereas the total habitat of snow
leopards in Pakistan is about 40,000 km
Our research on population estimates based on
extraction of DNA from fecal material (Anwar et al 2011)
showed that at least 19 individual cats were represented in
49 confirmed snow leopard scat samples. This is a strong
indication that the density of snow leopards in the area is
approximately 0.38 snow leopards per 100 km
. The
research also showed that most of the biomass consumed
(70%) was domestic livestock, including sheep (23%), goat
(16%), cattle (10%), yak (7%), and cattle–yak hybrids
(14%). Only 30% of the biomass consumed consisted of
wild species, namely Siberian ibex (21%), markhor (7%),
and birds (2%).
Participating communities responded positively to PSL’s
efforts. During 2010, we conducted a survey in the Basha
valley (the villages of Sibiri, Zill, Bain, Seisko, and Beisil). We
interviewed 79 individuals (mostly farmers, one hunter, and
two porters)—all members of the Snow Leopard
Conservation Committees of the participating villages. In
the questionnaire administered, we asked 36 questions,
including questions on the villages’ livestock, the level of
conflict experienced with snow leopards, their knowledge of
killed snow leopards, and the impact of PSL on reduction in
conflict and attitudes toward snow leopards.
Participants indicated that, over a period of 20 years
before PSL started working in the valley, 205 snow
leopards had been killed; 50% of them described current
snow leopard conservation status as ‘‘good,’’ with an
additional 35% describing it as ‘‘satisfactory.’’ In
particular, 27 respondents indicated that this outcome
resulted from the conservation efforts and that the
cooperation with PSL ‘‘are good.’’ Asked whether they
‘feel that the present snow leopard conservation efforts
are better than the ones made earlier,’’ 83.5% responded
‘yes.’’ Specifically, 82.2% of the respondents noted that
the ibex population had increased, and 79.8% indicated
the snow leopard kills had decreased (PSL surveys,
unpublished data 2010, available from corresponding
author of this article).
During the summer of 2011, we followed up with a
series of in-depth dialogues with the Snow Leopard
Conservation Committees in the participating
communities to understand their level of satisfaction with
the insurance scheme and PSL’s conservation efforts
(Figure 3). We took ethnographic notes of the
conversations and views expressed. Participating
communities consider the project as their own and
appreciate the support provided by PSL, now brought
under the umbrella of the Baltistan Wildlife Conservation
and Development Organization. One of the most tangible
outcomes is the existence of an internal oversight
mechanism, where the community acts to prevent
fraudulent depredation reports or suspected violations of
the core conditions for project participation, including a
ban on illegal hunting of wildlife. Communities are
becoming more proactive and increasingly assertive in
influencing outcomes, and they take responsibility for
these. In one instance, in the village of Beisil in the Basha
valley, snow leopard conservation helped serve as a
BOX 1: How the insurance scheme works
All households in the participating village take out an insurance
policy on their livestock; this is how it works:
NThe premium rate is set at 1% of the small livestock’s (ie sheep
and goats) current market value. The justification for this rate
is based on surveys conducted by PSL that show average
annual livestock loss to snow leopard in conflict areas is about
2% of the total herd size, or 2% of the financial value of an
NThe villagers’ own premium payment covers about 50% of the
costs of the average annual losses from snow leopard
NThe remaining 50% cost is covered by PSL.
NInsurance premiums by villagers are paid annually by each
livestock owner into Fund 1, which is managed solely by the
NA second monetary corpus, Fund 2, is established to help cover
the remaining costs of any livestock losses to predators. This
is financed through proceeds from grants solicited from various
national and international donors.
NFund 2 is kept in a separate account at the local bank and
jointly managed by PSL and villagers.
NPremium payments deposited in Fund 1 are held collectively in
a bank, with records of individual payments maintained
separately within the village.
NThe total premium amount of each member contributed
through Fund 1 is based on the number of livestock owned.
NThe model assumes that the average rate of loss will remain at
2% and that PSL will continue to generate funds to finance
compensation payments, as well as the corpus for Fund 2
(Hussain 2000).
Mountain Research and Development
catalyst for bridging cultural and economic differences
among factions within the community.
Snow leopards are no longer trapped, as used to be the
case. A Swiss photographer who travelled to Hushey in
1987 to look for snow leopards wrote the following: ‘‘We
were extremely disappointed to find a number of sliding-
door traps, which the poachers used to trap and kill snow
leopards. In fact, we later learnt that several snow
leopards had been killed in these traps over the
previous few years’’ (Eric Dragesco, unpublished paper
April 2012, available from corresponding author of this
In socioeconomic terms, since livestock constitutes a
great part of households’ income, a reduction in conflict has
translated into a decreased loss of income. The introduction
of an education component in 2010, as an additional
incentive for communities to accept the presence of snow
leopards and allowing all girls in Sibiri, Seisko, and Beisil to
have access to primary education, is likely to have a
profound impact on these communities. Over the years, the
hope is that these young, educated girls will promote a
conservation ethic in their villages and beyond.
A number of challenges have emerged over the years; PSL
is trying to address them. While support for PSL activities
remains strong, as highlighted previously, discussions with
the Snow Leopard Conservation Committees have
confirmed that some difficulties persist.
First, there is a shared view with the communities that
conflicts between people and snow leopards can be
reduced but never eliminated, because communities will
continue to lose livestock to this predator. For the local
people, their positive change in attitude toward a
predator so that they view it as worthy of protection does
not alter the reality that this species continues to
negatively impact the domestic economy of livestock
Second, with mountain communities becoming more
accessible, herders may have easier access to potent tools
for eliminating predators, such as poison and agricultural
pesticides. Based on our 2010 survey, 20 snow leopards
are known to have been poisoned around Beisil in the
Basha valley. In the villages where PSL operates, there has
not been an instance of a snow leopard being subject to
chemical poisoning, although such poisons and pesticides
have been intercepted by members of the local Snow
Leopard Conservation Committees. The threat is thus
Third, some communities in the region have a trophy
hunting program. In Skoyo, Basingo, and Krabathang, the
stakes are high for the local conservancy because they can
sell the trophy hunting permit for the prized and
endangered markhor for several tens of thousands of
dollars. With markhor being a prey item, the village of
FIGURE 3 Meeting with the Snow Leopard Conservation Committee in Hushey , Ganche Valley. (Photo by Tanya Rosen)
Mountain Research and Development
Skoyo lost interest in conserving snow leopards and
backed out of participation in the insurance scheme
program. Such concerns about the effect snow leopards
may have on populations of valued trophy species are not
uncommon: in September 2011, similar negative feelings
regarding snow leopard predation on markhor were
expressed by a conservancy in Zighar, Tajikistan. The
approach followed to reconcile snow leopard
conservation goals with the sustainable use of a highly
valued ungulate species involves educating the local
communities on the ecosystem health role that predators
like snow leopards play. There is also no proof in the
concerned areas that snow leopard predation on markhor
may affect the population to the point where the current
quota for trophy hunting would be challenged.
Fourth, PSL has pursued a single-species approach
centered on snow leopards. But wolves are increasingly if
not, more than snow leopards, intensively preying on
livestock. Accessing funding for wolf-related conservation
or conflict-mitigation work is difficult, because the wolf
does not carry the same conservation significance as the
snow leopard does. According to the 2010 survey, four
participants said the snow leopard’s improved
conservation status developed because the communities
were united in their efforts. Asked specifically what they
were proud of, 35% of them talked about ‘‘unity, peace,
and absence of conflict’’ in the villages. However in a
situation where livestock can only be insured against snow
leopard losses and not against wolf-induced losses,
divisions have emerged within the community, thereby
potentially eroding support for snow leopard
conservation. In Hushey in February 2011, one part of the
livestock herd that escaped from a corral was killed by a
snow leopard and the other by a wolf pack. In September
2011, in Zill, Basha Valley, 170 sheep and goats died as a
result of such interaction with wolves. Finding ways to
broaden the focus of the insurance program and obtain
funding to support other incentive-based activities may
have to be considered over the long term as a strategy for
ensuring that all community members are participating in
the conservation programs and that divisions do not
compromise them.
Fifth, PSL has an ecotourism arm: a local trekking
company called Full Moon Night Trekking (FMNT)
(Hussain 2000) started to attract tourists willing to trek
where snow leopards are and visit the villages where PSL
is active. When established, the goal was for profit from
ecotourism to be 100% devoted to subsidizing the
insurance fund and for FMNT to hire guides from the
project villages to generate local income. Unfortunately,
because of the often more perceived than real security
concerns in Gilgit-Baltistan, logistical difficulties in
accessing the region (irregular flights from Islamabad to
Skardu as an alternative to a 31-hour-long drive on the
Karakorum Highway), FMNT so far has attracted few
trekking tourists. The situation slightly improved during
the summer of 2011. In the wake of the recent sectarian
tensions in Gilgit-Baltistan, the outlook for the summer of
2012 remains unclear.
While the introduction of the insurance scheme has
generated the goodwill of the local communities not to
take retaliatory measures against predating snow leopards,
not to kill the snow leopard prey illegally, and to be
proactive about mitigating potential conflict, it is the use
of mitigation measures, such as predator-proof corrals,
that has contributed to a reduction of conflict (PSL
surveys, unpublished data 2010, available from
corresponding author of this article), especially in the
winter in villages where such predator-proof corrals have
been built. This leads to the assumption that the combined
use of incentive schemes with the establishment of a sound
governance and oversight body and of mitigation measures
constitutes the most viable option for establishing the
grounds for the coexistence of people and carnivores like
snow leopards. While no baseline information exists on the
status of snow leopards in the project areas prior to PSL’s
intervention, based on local knowledge, the population of
snow leopards and its prey have increased.
PSL’s innovative approach has inspired similar efforts
in other regions (Gurung et al 2011). The Wildlife
Conservation Society (WCS) launched a pilot insurance
scheme project in the Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan
(Simms et al 2011). Similarly, in western Montana, WCS
and its partners are looking into ways of implementing
modified versions of the insurance scheme to increase
rancher tolerance for wolves.
The PSL’s philosophy shows that cost-effective methods
of compensating local farmers can be developed that are
partly financed by the villagers and run efficiently with no
reported frauds. The willingness of most farmers to share
in the cost is reflective of their genuine intention to resolve
conflict without having to eliminate wildlife. Human–
wildlife conflict for many small farmers like those in
northern Pakistan is essentially an economic issue, and one
that can be effectively resolved through developing
durable funding channels and local institutions for
disbursing funds in a fair and inexpensive manner.
More importantly, what PSL’s experience shows is that
while the incentive component is critical, it is also part of a
larger approach—one that includes developing and
supporting local governance structures, improving access to
education, and offering a range of tools to reduce the
conflict that can be implemented locally. International
practices and guidelines developed with a view of reducing
human–wildlife conflict should recognize the species and
local-context complexities surrounding the implementation
of conservation incentives and broader initiatives and
should promote local participatory approaches that seek to
empower communities to coexist with wildlife.
Mountain Research and Development
We thank the PSL villages for their tireless dedication to conserving snow
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Mountain Research and Development
... Lions began to recolonize ANP in 1994, but retaliatory killings, aided by improved access to poisons, continued to put the lion population at risk, as did longstanding traditions among certain Maasai communities where young men gained higher social standing through the killing of lions with spears 40 . In 2003, local conservation NGO Maasailand Preservation Trust (MPT) (recently re-branded as Big Life Foundation) worked with the committee of the MGR to establish a compensation fund to mitigate the impact of lion depredation and retaliatory killings 41 . ...
... These notes may be turned in for cash on a bi-monthly basis 42 . Payout amounts are tied to market value as agreed to between NGO and community, although the scheme-set rates are often found to lag behind market fluctuations 41 . The scheme's payment system has a number of criteria that must be met in order for 100% of the set values to be met. ...
... The scheme's payment system has a number of criteria that must be met in order for 100% of the set values to be met. Some of these regulations are tied to the scheme's primary focus on lion conflict, while verified lion incidents are eligible for full payout, and incidents tied to hyenas, for instance, are only eligible for 50% the full value 41 . After the species involved has been determined, a number of conditions must be met regarding husbandry practices, which then incur a set percentage reduction if verification agents determine the claimant has not met the established standards for conflict prevention 41 . ...
Technical Report
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Annex Report to "Human Wildlife Conflict mitigation: Lessons learned from global compensation and insurance schemes" - This report provides wildlife conservation practitioners with more detailed understanding of how insurance, compensation, and other financial mitigation systems can be applied as tools to lesson the severity of impacts from human wildlife conflict scenarios. Important considerations such as valuation of damages are covered in more depth. This Annex report also provides case studies of 12 different financial mitigation approaches across the world in varied human wildlife conflict scenarios - crop damage, livestock depredation, property damages; case studies cover - micro-insurance, community-managed insurance, public liability insurance, ex-post compensation, ex-ante compensation, interim relief schemes, compensation performance payments; species covered include wolves, bears, mountain lions, birds of prey, wolverine, lynx, elephants, otters, snow leopards, tigers, African lions, African leopards, Central Asian leopards, jackals, hyenas, buffalo, crocodiles, and hippopotamus.
... Snow leopard and wolves (Canis lupus) are the primary large carnivores that depredate on local pastoralists' livestock and are thus attributable to HWCs in the high mountain regions of the northern Pakistan (Rosen et al., 2012). The land use/land cover changes there as represented by the increasing human settlements and decreasing rangeland per capita and per livestock means encroachment onto wildlife habitats and more severe competition between human and wildlife (Qasim et al., 2023;Rashid et al., 2021). ...
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Abstract The livestock depredation by large carnivores is a main cause for increasing human–wildlife conflicts (HWCs) and is one of the prime challenges for carnivore's conservation and a major economic concern to livestock‐dependent communities around wildlife habitats. Thus, understanding the patterns and trends of livestock depredation may contribute to better understanding of the mechanisms underlying HWCs and to mitigating HWCs. HWCs characterized by livestock depredation by large carnivores are prevalent in northern Pakistan, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly investigated. This study was conducted in 2018 in the Khunjerab Valley and Shimshal Valley of the Pamir region to evaluate the spatial and seasonal variation and impact of livestock depredation by carnivores. Data were collected on livestock depredation and its associated economic impact through semi‐structured interviews of randomly selected households in the two valleys. The livestock in Shimshal Valley was more susceptible to large carnivores’ depredation (233 heads per year) than in Khunjerab Valley (125 heads per year). This spatial variation in livestock depredation was reflective of the difference in the socio‐economic conditions and physical locations between the two valleys. More livestock depredation took place in winter in Khunjerab Valley, while more livestock depredation occurred in summer in Shimshal Valley, mainly because of different grazing systems in the two valleys. The total economic loss incurred due to large carnivores’ depredation was US$ 76,063 in Shimshal Valley, as compared to US$ 34,175 in Khunjerab Valley in 2018. The average economic loss per household was US$ 950.8, accounting for nearly 30% of the household annual income in Shimshal Valley in 2018. A higher proportion of participants in Shimshal Valley (83%) in comparison to Khunjerab Valley (69%) expressed a negative attitude towards wild carnivores. The study concludes that Shimshal Valley, remotely located and having comparatively marginal income opportunities, was more reliant on agro‐pastoralism and thus more vulnerable to the economic repercussions of livestock depredation by wild carnivores. Thus, such measures as improvement in road transportation and livestock management are in urgent need to better manage HWCs in Shimshal Valley.
... Local mountain communities often possess detailed knowledge on biodiversity and ecosystem trends thanks to their direct reliance on their local ecosystems, as well as their observations of change passed down through generations. In many cases, especially in hard-to-reach mountain sites, local information could enrich that of scientists, providing a valuable contribution to understand and communicate the ways in which Filling the Gaps in Research, Monitoring, Management … biodiversity decline may affect the complex relationships between people and nature, and to improve our management of mountain biodiversity (Hussain 2000;Rosen et al. 2012). ...
Understanding the effects ofClimateclimate changeClimate change and human activities on fragile mountain ecosystems is necessary to successfully managing these environments under future climateClimate scenarios (e.g., global warming, enhanced aridity). This can be done through the study of paleoecological records, which can provide long paleoenvironmental databases containing information on how ecosystems reacted toClimateclimate changeClimate change and human disturbances before the historical record. These studies can be particularly interesting when focusing on especially warm and/or dry past climatic phases. Biotic (pollen, charcoal) and abiotic (physical, geochemistry) analyses from wetland sediment records from the Sierra NevadaSierra Nevada, southern SpainSpainrecordSouthern spain changes in vegetation, fire historyHistory and lake sedimentation since ~11,700 years (cal yr BP). This multiproxy paleoecological study indicates that maxima in temperatureTemperature and humidity occurred in the area in the Early and Middle HoloceneHolocene, with a peak in precipitationPrecipitation between ~10,500 and 7000 cal yr BP. This is deduced by maxima in water runoff, the highest abundance of tree species and algae and high total organic carbon values recorded in the alpine wetland’s sedimentary records of the Sierra NevadaSierra Nevada during that time period. In the last 7000 cal yr BP, and especially after a transition period between ~7000 and 5000 cal yr BP, a progressive aridification process took place, indicated by the decrease in tree species and the increase in xerophytic herbs in this region and a reduction in water runoff evidenced by the decrease in detritic input in the wetland sedimentary records. An increasing trend inSaharan dustSaharan dust depositionSaharan dust deposition in the Sierra NevadaSierra Nevada wetlands is also recorded through inorganic geochemical proxies, probably due to a coetaneous loss of vegetation cover in North Africa. The process of progressive aridification during the Middle and Late HoloceneHolocene was interrupted by millennial-scale climatic oscillations and several periods of relative humid/droughty conditions and warm/cold periods have been identified in different temperatureTemperatureand/or precipitationPrecipitation proxies. Enhanced human impactHuman impact has been observed in the Sierra NevadaSierra Nevada in the last ~3000 cal yr BP through the increase in fires, grazing, cultivation, atmospheric pollution as well as reforestation by Pinus and the massive cultivation of Olea at lower altitudes.
... In the highest mountain ranges of Asia, the snow leopard is an apex predator and an opportunistic generalist carnivore, consuming any available prey and killing domestic livestock in large numbers (Table 1) [40][41][42]. Depredation is the single most important cause of the human-snow leopard conflict [43,44]. Since livestock depredation is a threat to livestock owner livelihoods and hence an economic burden [45], these negative perceptions lead to human-snow leopard conflict [46]. ...
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Citation: Sultan, H.; Rashid, W.; Shi, J.; Rahim, I.u.; Nafees, M.; Bohnett, E.; Rashid, S.; Khan, M.T.; Shah, I.A.; Han, H.; et al. Horizon Scan of Transboundary Concerns Impacting Snow Leopard Landscapes in Asia. Land 2022, 11, 248.
... Additionally, signs of resource competition between wildlife and traditional pastoralism are visible in the Himalaya (Rao et al., 2000) as has been noted in Africa (Prins 1992). Human-wildlife conflicts have increased with considerable impact on the livelihood of the transhumant communities owing to damage and losses of their livestock (Wang et al., 2006a, (Wang et al., 2006b; Rosen et al., 2012). Similar observations of attacks by wild animals have also been reported in other studies on Gaddis (Namgay et al., 2013) and other areas of HP . ...
Transhumance that involves seasonal migration of humans along with their livestock is a means of livelihood and resource management for the Gaddi community of the Himalaya. They have been following it for centuries but now the practice is fast declining. We, therefore, documented the current movement patterns of Gaddis’ and the associated emerging factors that are leading to a decline in transhumance. This was done through semi-structured questionnaire recordings with the Gaddis (n=39) in the Bharmour region which is believed to be their origin place. We find that while Gaddis still follow transhumance, a disinterest towards the profession is evident that is reflected in the declining number of livestock holding and movement permits. The study reveals theft of livestock enroute (∼85%) and fodder scarcity (∼72%) as the major limiting factors. The need of education (∼49%) for children also encourages Gaddis to give up transhumance. During their movement, the Gaddis reported use of 96 plant species for fuelwood, fodder, and medicinal purposes. Thus, loss of transhumance will not only impact the age old tradition but also the associated knowledge. It is time when policies in favor of these herders are devised and implemented such that their sustainable development is ensured.
... Our study shows that on average more than one Snow leopard was reportedly killed per year in the study area. However, a previous study has concluded that many local people have a negative perception on Snow leopards, and even kill them without reporting to the authority due to fear of penalty from the government [68]. Thus, it is more likely that the number of Snow leopard killings is higher than the number currently reported. ...
Simple Summary: Trophy hunting and mass tourism were introduced to Khunjerab National Park, northern Pakistan to generate income for the community and help conserve and sustain the ecosystem in the region. These initiatives have provided economic benefits, but only at the cost of other environmental problems, as both trophy hunting and mass tourism have resulted in various ecological issues. Trophy hunting has not been based on scientific population data and has thus not helped increase numbers of wild ungulates or wild carnivores. Although mass tourism has increased enormously in this region, it has damaged the ecosystem through pollution generation and negatively impacted wildlife. We suggest that trophy hunting should be stopped, and mass tourism should be shifted to ecotourism as a sustainable solution to help improve the ecosystem, while generating income for the local community. Further studies are required to investigate ecotourism as a potential mitigation measure for the conservation issues in this region. Abstract: Trophy hunting and mass tourism are the two major interventions designed to provide various socioeconomic and ecological benefits at the local and regional levels. However, these interventions have raised some serious concerns that need to be addressed. This study was conducted in Khunjerab National Park (KNP) with an aim to analyze comparatively the socioeconomic and ecological impacts of trophy hunting and mass tourism over the last three decades within the context of sustainability. Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with key stakeholders and household interviews were conducted to collect data on trophy hunting and mass tourism, and on local attitudes towards these two interventions in and around KNP. The results revealed that 170 Ibex (Capra sibirica) and 12 Blue sheep (Pseudois nayaur) were hunted in the study area over the past three decades, and trophy hunting was not based on a sustainable harvest level. Trophy hunting on average generated USD 16,272 annual revenue, which was invested in community development. However, trophy hunting has greatly changed the attitudes of local residents towards wildlife: a positive attitude towards the wild ungulates and strongly negative attitude towards wild carnivores. In addition, trophy hunting has reduced the availability of ungulate prey species for Snow leopards (Panthera uncia), and consequently, Snow leopards have increased their predation on domestic livestock. This has, in turn, increased human-snow leopard conflict, as negative attitudes towards carnivores result in retaliatory killing of Snow leopards. Furthermore, according to official record data, the number of tourists to KNP has increased tremendously by 10,437.8%, from 1382 in 1999 to 145,633 in 2018. Mass tourism on average generated USD 33,904 annually and provided opportunities for locals to earn high incomes, but it caused damages to the environment and ecosystem in KNP through pollution generation and negative impacts on wildlife. Considering the limited benefits and significant problems created by trophy hunting and mass tourism, we suggest trophy hunting should be stopped and mass tourism Animals 2020, 10, 597 2 of 20 should be shifted to ecotourism in and around KNP. Ecotourism could mitigate human-Snow leopard conflicts and help conserve the fragile ecosystem, while generating enough revenue incentives for the community to protect biodiversity and compensate for livestock depredation losses to Snow leopards. Our results may have implications for management of trophy hunting and mass tourism in other similar regions that deserve further investigation.
... Snow leopards are opportunistic predators that consume any available wild prey animals, as well as domestic livestock (Khatoon et al., 2017). However, declining availability of wild prey compels snow leopards to increasingly predate upon domestic livestock (yak, cattle, sheep, and goat) (Kachel et al., 2017;Rosen et al., 2012;Rovero et al., 2018). In some cases, domestic livestock comprises as much as 70% of the snow leopard's diet (Kachel et al., 2017;Sharma et al., 2015), resulting in increasing HSCs (Khan et al., 2017). ...
Conservation of the snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is challenging because of its threatened status and increase in human-snow leopard conflict (HSC). The area of occupancy of the snow leopard comprises mountainous regions of Asia that are confronted with various environmental pressures including climate change. HSCs have increased with a burgeoning human population and economic activities that enhance competition between human and snow leopard or its preys. Here we systematically review the peer-reviewed literature from 1994 to 2018 in Web of Science, Google Scholar, Science Direct and PubMed (30 articles), to evaluate the current state of scholarship about HSCs and their management. We determine: 1) the spatio-temporal distribution of relevant researches; 2) the methodologies to assess HSCs; 3) and evaluate existing interventions for conflict management; and 4) the potential options for HSC management. The aim of the current study is thus to identify key research gaps and future research requirements. Of the articles in this review, 60% evaluated the mitigation of HSCs, while only 37% provided actionable and decisive results. Compensation programs and livestock management strategies had high success rates for mitigating HSCs through direct or community-managed interventions. Further research is required to evaluate the efficacy of existing HSC mitigation strategies, many of which, while recommended, lack proper support. In spite of the progress made in HSC studies, research is needed to examine ecological and socio-cultural context of HSCs. We suggest future work focus on rangeland management for HSC mitigation, thus ultimately fostering a coexistence between human and snow leopard.
Human-wildlife conflict (HWC) is a daunting challenge for conservation worldwide. Multiple social and ecological factors influence HWC at different spatial scales, making it challenging to determine effective management strategies. Coupled with issues of climate breakdown and its overarching influence on the livelihood security of mountain people, HWC is becoming a prominent issue in the Indian Himalayas. The rising HWC threatens to diminish local communities’ historical tolerance towards wildlife. A growing number of scientific studies indicate the urgency of finding a solution to this problem. Yet, a synthesis of the existing knowledge and solutions that work is lacking. Through a systematic review of 88 publications from 1991 to 2020, we examine the current state of information on HWC in the Western Himalayas and identify the strengths and limitations of the existing knowledge to mitigate conflict. Our analysis revealed (i) a lack of longitudinal studies on conflict, with 42% (n = 37) of studies being one-time snapshots of HWC; (ii) even though the majority of the study region is essentially a socio-ecological system, 64% (n = 56) of the studies focused only on either ecological or social aspects of conflict; (iii) a considerable proportion of studies (45%, n = 40) provided generic conflict mitigation measures; (iv) lack of a standardised approach to quantify monetary losses rendered results of the majority of studies incomparable even within sites; and (v) 22% (n = 19) studies evaluated effectiveness of interventions, of which n = 9 were external evaluations. Most evaluations were narrative accounts of the efficacy of conservation interventions. Snow leopards, black bears, and Himalayan wolves were the most studied conflict-prone species, but there were considerable spatial gaps in HWC studies across the Western Himalayas. Generating systematic long-term data to understand the underlying spatial and temporal drivers of HWC is urgently needed. A carefully implemented multi-stakeholder approach seemed to be the most successful in managing HWC in the Western Himalayas.
Mountain ranges offer extraordinary opportunities to conduct research and monitor global changeGlobal change. Starting with a detailed analysis of the geographical setting, ecological dynamics and the historyHistory of human management, in this book, we focus on the uniqueness of the natural heritage of Sierra NevadaSierra Nevada in both a historical and a global-change context. The 24 chapters of this book provide a full review of the diagnosis of the health status of Sierra NevadaSierra Nevada ecosystems. All the evidence presented in this book reinforces our underlying idea of Sierra NevadaSierra Nevada as a unique biophysical, historical and socio-economic laboratory and observatory of global changeGlobal change. This mountain is also of strategic importance as a provider of ecosystem servicesEcosystem service within the bounds of the National Park as well as for the surrounding region. This last chapter provides a critical review of what we have done so far, and what still needs to be done to improve research, monitoring, use of new technological toolsNew technological tools(remote sensorsRemote sensors, artificial intelligence, virtual research environmentsVirtual Research Environment (VRE)), user-oriented solutionsUser-oriented solutionsand knowledge mobilizationKnowledge mobilization. The chapter ends with a final proposal: a mountain of all and for all, a joint journey of nature and peopleNature and peopletowards theCommunitymountain communityMountain community.
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Impacts on households from large carnivores are frequently reported in the conservation literature, but conflicts between households and large carnivore conservation are not. Employing a human-wildlife coexistence framework that distinguishes between human-wildlife impacts on one hand, and human-conservation conflicts on the other, this paper presents data from Annapurna Conservation Area and Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park, Nepal, each with different models of conservation governance. Using systematic sampling, quantitative information from 705 households was collected via questionnaires, while 70 semi-structured interviews were conducted with key informants for cross-methods triangulation. 7.7% of households reported conflicts with snow leopard conservation in the previous 12 months, primarily due to damage to livelihoods; these were significantly higher in the Annapurna region. 373 livestock were reported lost by households to snow leopards in the previous 12 months, representing 3.4% of total livestock owned and US$ 132,450 in financial value. Livestock losses were significantly lower in the Everest area. In linear regression models, total household livestock losses to all sources best explained conflicts with snow leopard conservation and household livestock losses to snow leopards but the models for the former dependent variable had very low explanatory power. Conservation in general, and large carnivore conservation in particular, should distinguish carefully between impacts caused by coexistence with these species and conflicts with conservation actors and over the methods and interventions used to conserve carnivores, especially where these negatively impact local livelihoods. In addition, livestock husbandry standards are highlighted again as an important factor in the success of carnivore conservation programmes.
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The effects of improved accessibility in high mountain areas have stimulated a discussion on models that depict montane resource utilization, transformation of agricultural practices, and settlement patterns. While significant changes in mountain communities are evident and are perceived to transform socioeconomic conditions, it is argued that the persistence of specific practices related to the mountain environment must be acknowledged and discussed. Thus, persistence in change is analyzed as a parameter for the relationship between ecology, culture, and economy. The cases presented range from the European Alps to the Himalayan arc. Emphasis is placed on the utilization of agro-ecological belts in mountain societies such as the Himalayan communities of the Kashmir Valley and Jaunsar-Bawar in the Dehra Dun district. Their adaptive strategies and the transformation processes are compared with developments in the European Alps. -Author
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Improved accessibility and attempts for integrated rural development in high mountain regions challenge the economic, social and cultural system of mountain societies. An examination of transformations in the Hunza Valley in the Karakoram shows how external interventions change the internal structure and economic conditions. Following a diachronic approach, the political and economic framework is analyzed and some aspects of recent sources of income are discussed. The decline of high pasturing, change in the traditional pattern of gender-related divison of labor, and the impact of development projects indicate that the subsistence component of production has declined while diversification and increase of non-agrarian income sources have occurred. The Karakoram Highway enhances geographical mobility and exchange relations between the mountains and the plains. -Author
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Loss of livestock to snow leopards Panthera uncia is one of the primary concerns of subsistence herders’ communities and one of the primary threats to conservation of this endangered species throughout the alpine regions of the central Asia. Unless the relationship between snow leopards and humans is better understood and appropriate strategies are applied, coexistence may not be sustainable. Thus, to address this issue, WWF Nepal piloted a community-managed livestock insurance scheme in Ghunsa valley of Kangchenjunga Conservation Area simultaneously with various types of mitigation measures (i.e. preventive and curative). We found significant advantages of the insurance scheme including that it is self-sustaining and locally managed thereby ensuring it is economically viable and effective in preventive retaliatory killing of snow leopards. The main strength of the insurance scheme is that it was designed and developed in close co-operation with the affected herders’ communities. The communities start by designing a simple livestock insurance plan whereby owners contribute to a common fund that is later administered and managed at the local level, thus reducing likelihood of fraud. Benefit sharing of funds among subsistence herders’ communities from income generating activities is one of the positive motivating tools for people towards snow leopards. Since initiated, snow leopard killings have gone from 1-3/year to 0/year for 3 years.
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International donors and private citizens have invested billions of dollars to protect biodiversity in developing nations. The most popular investments aim to encourage economic activities that indirectly protect ecosystems and species. An alternative form of investment is to pay directly for conservation outcomes, as is commonly done in high-income nations. While not a “silver bullet,” direct approaches may, in many cases, be more effective and efficient than indirect ones, and thus merit greater attention in developing nations. This article is reprinted with permission from Science, Volume 298, Issue 5599, Issue of 29 November 2002, page 1718-1719. Copyright © 2002 by The American Association for the Advancement of Science. All rights reserved. Full text available in print version of the journal. Himalayan Journal of Sciences 1(2): 81-83, 2003
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In this article a case of sheep predation by pumas is presented and used as an example for evaluating the damage and the cost of economic compensation mitigating action for the conflicts between wildlife conservation and livestock produc-tion in Brazil. The relative advantages of this kind of action are discussed, considering the Brazilian scenario. Resumo No presente artigo, um caso de predação de ovelhas por pumas é apresentado e usado como exemplo para o cálculo de danos e do custo da compensação econômica como medida mitigadora dos conflitos entre a conservação da fauna e a produção animal no Brasil. As vantagens deste tipo de medida em relação a outras são discutidas no contexto brasileiro. Palavras-chave:conservação, manejo de fauna, controle de danos, pumas, carnívoros, extensão
Snow leopards that prey on poor farmers' livestock pose a twofold problem: they endanger farmers' precarious mountain livelihoods as well as the survival of the snow leopard as a unique species since farmers engage in retaliatory killings. Project Snow Leopard (PSL), a recent pilot initiative in Baltistan, involves a partnership between local farmers and private enterprise in the form of an insurance scheme combined with ecotourism activities. Farmers jointly finance the insurance scheme through the payment of premiums per head of livestock they own, while the remaining funds are provided by profits from trekking expeditions focusing on the snow leopard. The insurance scheme is jointly managed by a village management committee and PSL staff. The scheme is structured in such a way that villagers monitor each other and have incentives to avoid cheating the system.
We investigated wolf (Canis lupus)- and dog-livestock conflicts (1992-1995) and costs of compensation (1991-1995) in the Tuscany region of central Italy. The regional indemnity program cost US $345,000 (± 93,000 SD) annually. Most depredations (95.2%) involved sheep, with a mean (± SD) annual loss of 2,550 ± 730 sheep, or 0.35% of the regional stock. Sheep lost to predators by province were correlated with sheep density within areas containing wolves (r(s)= 0.88, n = 9, P = 0.0015), but marked geographical and temporal fluctuations were reported in compensation costs. Highest levels of conflict were observed in the provinces at the border of the regional wolf range, where livestock was left unattended most of the year and sheep density reached its highest regional levels. Based on 527 reports of approved claims during 1992-1995 from the National Health System, depredations were highly seasonal, increasing steadily from spring to early fall, possibly following trends in sheep availability on pastures and density fluctuations of local wolf packs. An average of 3 sheep (range = 1-18) were killed per attack (n = 483), and 42% of the attacks involved killing of ≤2 sheep. Additionally, 21-113 sheep were killed or attacked in mass slaughters which comprised 2.3% of the depredation events and 19% of the sheep lost. Depredations also resulted in 35% (n = 168) of sheep injured and 33% (n = 158) missing. Most sheep depredations occurred during the night, in pastures interspersed with wood or vegetative cover, and involved free-ranging flocks unattended by either the shepherd or guard dogs. High levels of conflict occurred in localized areas of intensive sheep production; 6% of the affected farms and 8% of the affected municipalities accounted for 32% of the sheep lost to both wolves and dogs at the regional level. Compensation programs alone were not effective in reducing the conflict or in preventing illegal, private efforts to control wolf numbers. Improved husbandry should be encouraged and facilitated through financial incentives and public education.
Pastoralists and their livestock share much of the habitat of the snow leopard (Uncia uncia) across south and central Asia. The levels of livestock predation by the snow leopard and other carnivores are high, and retaliatory killing by the herders is a direct threat to carnivore populations. Depletion of wild prey by poaching and competition from livestock also poses an indirect threat to the region's carnivores. Conservationists working in these underdeveloped areas that face serious economic damage from livestock losses have turned to incentive programs to motivate local communities to protect carnivores. We describe a pilot incentive program in India that aims to offset losses due to livestock predation and to enhance wild prey density by creating livestock-free areas on common land. We also describe how income generation from handicrafts in Mongolia is helping curtail poaching and retaliatory killing of snow leopards. However, initiatives to offset the costs of living with carnivores and to make conservation beneficial to affected people have thus far been small, isolated, and heavily subsidized. Making these initiatives more comprehensive, expanding their coverage, and internalizing their costs are future challenges for the conservation of large carnivores such as the snow leopard.