Twelve global leaders from snow leopard countries met in Kathmandu, Nepal to discuss the atrocities made against the big cats and lamented that only 4,000 of them are left in the wild. Last week, the Steering Committee of the Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection program (GSLEP) tackled poaching and illegal trades in the northern borders of Asian mountains.
Representatives from the 12 countries - Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Russia, Uzbekistan - conducted a country presentation which sees that illegal activities are a major concern for all of them.
According to the Snow Leopard Organization, International Coordinator for the GSLEP Secretariat Koustubh Sharma said, "Poaching has been listed as one of the main threats to snow leopard populations over at least the last two decades - but little is known about its extent and impact." He continued to say, "This report by TRAFFIC is a great step towards building the case for a concerted effort to understand and address the issue."
About 200 to 450 snow leopards are killed annually which is equivalent to four a week. However, the number might be higher for unreported cases.
TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network stated that more than 90 percent of illegal activities are in Asian countries such as China, Mongolia, Pakistan, India, and Tajikistan. Russia is one of the countries identified as the destinations of the poached leopards.
Senior Programme Director of TRAFFIC James Compton said, "TRAFFIC's analysis provides a blueprint for GSLEP action at national and transboundary levels to protect snow leopards from threats posed by poaching and trafficking." He further commented that "Key recommendations to range country governments, communities, conservation experts and donors should be considered as part of an integrated approach to implement the GLSEP objectives."
After the convention in Nepal, the country allotted $3.15 million for its four-year plan to combat atrocities against the almost endangered animals. Another seminar will be held in Kyrgyzstan on September 7 and 8 this year with the twelve countries.
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