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Combining biodiversity protection and the development of an alternative income-generating activity

 

The region of Ladakh is located in the western part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, in the northernmost part of India, in pre-Himalayan mountains towering above 3,000m of altitude. These mountains are home to the highest roads in the world (such as Khardung Iah, around 5,360m). 

The snow leopard is an endangered species whose population in Ladakh is estimated at approximately 500 individuals. The main threats on the species include poaching, habitat loss, and herd size increase. However, the communities’ work makes it possible to envision long term protection of the species.

 

Inde PAS Ladakh

 

The project and the prospects for change

 

Simple methods sometimes prove highly effective: equipping pens with grids allows for preventing over 90% of attacks; providing solar-powered LED fences that emit flashing light, keeps predators at bay; and planting repellent hedgerows and crops creates live barriers that drive wild herbivores back into the home range of the snow leopard. Plus, providing accommodation to tourists provides livestock farmers with an alternative economic activity which compensates for the costs of conflicts with fauna and gives them an opportunity for sharing their traditional lifestyle and relationship with nature. Planting sea buckthorns will also allow for producing wood - a material that is rare but essential to making pen roofs, as well as health and cosmetic products that will provide additional income to livestock farmers.

The ultimate goal of the project will be to encourage the development of alternative income-generating activities that contribute to reducing conflicts between the snow leopard and wild ungulates, on one hand, and settled and nomadic livestock farmers, on the other. It will be hinged on five objectives:

  • Acquire further knowledge on the status of wild species;
  • Reduce conflicts linked with predation and trampling by wild fauna;
  • Facilitate the living conditions of sedentary and nomadic livestock farmers and improve their economic situation;
  • Train livestock farmers and schoolchildren on conflict reduction methods;
  • Sensitize local and international communities on biodiversity conservation challenges in Ladakh.

 

To learn more about this project please click on this link.

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