Nepal Celebrates International Snow Leopard Day with Participatory Art Event
WWF Nepal joined the global celebration of International Snow Leopard Day by organizing a participatory art event in the historic Patan Durbar Square on 23 October 2016.
The awareness event organized under the theme “Lend a Hand for the Snow Leopard” saw participation of people from all walks of life who came together to contribute their hand prints to a community canvas, as a symbolism and in solidarity with the elusive cat which converted into a stunning picture of a snow leopard.
This International Snow Leopard Day marks the third year of the historic partnership between the twelve snow leopard range countries which culminated in the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) Program.
“As part of the GSLEP process, Nepal has committed to create 100 breeding individuals by 2022 under the eastern, central and the western complexes across Nepal,” said Mr. Gopal Prakash Bhattarai, Deputy Director of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. “Nepal is entrusted with the landscape management plan which will become a model for securing snow leopard landscapes in the other snow leopard range countries,” Bhattarai added.
“Nepal has been leading the way in snow leopard conservation, pioneering new approaches that have become global models for the conservation of the snow leopard and high mountain ecosystems,” said Dr. Ghana S. Gurung, Sr. Conservation Program Director at WWF Nepal. “We will continue to build on our work with local communities through increased capacities and awareness to lead conservation efforts to protect the snow leopard.”
In Nepal, under the snow leopard conservation program, three snow leopards have been fitted with GPS tracking collars in the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area, revealing new insights into the snow leopard’s transboundary habitat and ecology. An innovative livestock insurance scheme has turned herding communities in the mountains from snow leopard enemies to friends of the snow leopard. And the country is currently working on an ambitious landscape management plan to ensure snow leopards can thrive, along with all the other wildlife and people who depend on Asia’s magnificent mountains.
“We are glad to be a part of this important effort to save the endangered snow leopard and its beautiful home,” said Dr. Karl Wurster, Environment and Energy Team Leader at USAID-Nepal. “Being part of this unique event with the active support of people for the snow leopard has given us hope for the continued success of conservation efforts in Nepal, and elsewhere.”
The awareness event was organized by WWF Nepal, as part of the USAID funded Conservation and Adaptation in Asia’s High Mountains (AHM) Project, in partnership with Sattya Media Arts Collective and WWF Nepal’s The Generation Green campaign.
Worldwide, there are as few as 4,000 snow leopards left in the wild, prowling the high mountains of twelve countries in Asia. Nepal is home to almost 400 of them. The snow leopard’s home in the Himalayas, an important water source for billions of people living downstream, is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.