Tibetan monks take on the role of protecting the snow leopard

The snow leopard is a rare, elusive feline that lives in the mountains of central Asia. The snow leopard is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List and conservationists are enlisting local Tibetan monks to help safeguard the future of this species.

The snow leopard is endangered because its beautiful fur makes it a target for poachers and the leopard’s natural prey is in decline.

According to Panthera researcher Tom McCarthy another threat to the snow leopard is something called “retribution killing.”

Because snow leopards can hunt livestock, poor herders that live in the snow leopards’ range sometimes try to kill the cats for eating their sheep and yaks.

A big cat conservation organization named Panthera has teamed up with Tibetan monks who, they believe, can help discourage locals from killing snow leopards.

Snow leopard in the Toronto Zoo. Photo by: John Vetterli.

Along with educating people about the importance of snow leopards and other wildlife, the monks also monitor snow leopard habitat and work as field assistants to the Panthera scientists.

The program is proving itself to be successful in keeping snow leopards out of harm’s way.

Want to learn more?  Read the full story here: An avalanche of decline: snow leopard populations are plummeting

Other snow leopard stories: First snow leopards collared in Afghanistan as species faces rising threat from climate change
First video footage of wild snow leopard cubs in their den in Mongolia

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