Snow leopard-Human Conflict Resolution Program in Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal

The snow leopard has been recently categorized as vulnerable, it is top of the food chain in the Himalayas and is a species of global conservation concen. Recently, common leopard have also been recorded from the range of snow leopard and the range of the Himalayan grey wolf also overlaps that of snow leopard. All these species attack livestock. The habitats where these species occur is also the grazing land of the livestock of the local people. Livestock husbandary is the primary livelihood for these people who live in some of the world’s most remote villages. A serious conflict situation arises when livestock is attacked by one of these predators. The livestock owners tend to focus on the snow leopards as the cause of their loss and herders may resort to the retaliatory killing of snow leopards by poisoning the carcasses of snow leopard prey or setting foot traps. These actions have caused a decline in the numbers of snow leopard. This conflict situation could be resolved if local people were made aware of the importance of using improved corrals and using then when predators are most likely to be active. For example; if Yak calves were corraled before sunrise, predation would be reduced. The situation could be further improved if the herders were made aware of habitat selection by predators. Therefore, we have designed the program to initiate a herders network, to support them with portable corrals to enclose calves and to improve permanent corrals (predator proof) for adult livestock, to distribute predator repellent lights and to initiate an awareness program for the herders (provision of maps indicating zones vulnerable to higher levels of predation and information about predator activity cycle etc. ). These programs will be piloted in Gnwal and Ghyaru villages within Annapurna Conservation Area and then extended to other remote villages in Manang and Mustang .