Many of the families sharing snow leopard habitat are herders who live on less than $2 per day. Members of these low-income communities sometimes resort to poaching snow leopards to earn extra money or protect their herds of livestock. The Snow Leopard Trust takes a community-based conservation approach that breaks this cycle of poverty and creates an incentive for herders to protect local wildlife.
Through Snow Leopard Enterprises, local women sell handmade wool items that can increase their household income by up to 40% per year. Livestock vaccinations increase a community’s economic stability, while reducing the threats to snow leopards living nearby, and livestock insurance offers financial reimbursement to herders who lose an animal to snow leopard predation. Conservation education programs inform herders of the importance of protecting snow leopards in the five program countries where we work.