“I urge you [the leaders of the twelve snow leopard range countries and international institutions] to take immediate action to protect the snow leopard when you meet this August for the Global Snow Leopard Summit in Bishkek.
In 2013, you all came together for the first time and agreed on an ambitious plan to secure 20 landscapes for snow leopards by 2020. You’ve already followed up and identified these landscapes, and have continued to bring up snow leopard conservation in policy discussions. I applaud you for taking these important first steps.
Now it’s time to make real progress!
We don’t currently know for certain how many wild snow leopards there really are, but we do know that on average one snow leopard is killed every day somewhere in the cat’s range by poachers, some by desperate local communities who are trying to protect their livestock. We also know that a significant part of the cat’s habitat is at risk from unsustainable, poorly planned development.
We can’t lose another minute! We have to put the plan into action, and secure these landscapes for the snow leopard’s future!
I respectfully ask you to:
• Ensure that the snow leopard landscapes you’ve already identified as safe havens for the cats are properly secured and protected through long-term management plans implemented by all sectors of government and other stakeholders.
• Create and implement a joint strategy with all range countries to combat poaching and illegal trade of snow leopards and other wildlife
• Safeguard the future of the snow leopard by supporting a range-wide, scientifically sound assessment of their remaining population to inform future conservation management
• Commit to ensuring that all infrastructure development in mountain ecosystems is sustainable and does not threaten snow leopards or their sensitive habitats
• Develop a pipeline of investable projects that will promote sustainable development in snow leopard landscapes, helping decrease rural poverty while respecting the needs of wildlife.
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