BWCDO builds snow leopard-proof corrals to protect livestock and prevent human-wildlife conflicts. - photo: BWCDO
Snow Leopard Award 2021 goes to BWCDO
Pakistani NGO awarded for its commitment and success in snow leopard conservation
May 31, 2022 - On silent paws, well camouflaged and rarely seen – the feared and revered "spirit of the mountains" faces the threat of extinction: As of today, only a few thousand snow leopard remain roaming the Asian high mountains. Retaliatory killing, poaching and habitat loss threaten their existence. But there is still hope: In Gilgit-Baltistan, where 80 percent of Pakistan's snow leopards live, the population of the rare big cats is gradually stabilizing. Over 90 snow leopards are now estimated to live in the region. This success is largely due to the commitment of the Baltistan Wildlife Conservation and Development Organization (BWCDO), the winner of the NABU Snow Leopard Award 2021.
To protect snow leopards and human livelihoods simultaneously, BWCDO is pursuing an innovative twofold strategy: snow leopard-proof corrals and financial support. For the protection of grazing animals, its team supports the built of secure corrals that prevent snow leopards from preying on livestock. So far, nine predator-proof corrals have been built and more are planned. At the same time, NABU and BWCDO work together to provide financial compensation for local livestock owners when animal losses occur during grazing activities. With success: this combination of protection and compensation has helped to reduce hostility toward snow leopards and prevent killings of the rare big cat.
Thanks to BWCDO's activities, the population of endangered snow leopards stabilized in Gilgit-Baltistan. - photo: Christian Martischius/Sara Schuh
During his stay in Germany, Ghulam Mohammad, CEO of BWCDO, met Jörg-Andreas Krüger, president of NABU, to exchange information about snow leopard conservation. - photo: NABU/ BWCDO
NABU has been working with BWCDO for the conservation of snow leopards and supports BWCDO with their sustainability initiatives, such as introducing eco-friendly bags in Gilgit-Baltistan. BWCDO not only focuses on protecting snow leopards but also on providing quality education in remote areas of Northern Pakistan, established through its sister organization Iqra Fund. The educational campaign aims at raising awareness for environmental protection in Pakistan, thus creating a safe haven for the endangered snow leopards.
Due to Covid restrictions the Snow Leopard Award 2021 is being presented to BWCDO only today: The award was ceremoniously handed over to Ghulam Mohammad, representative of BWCDO, during his official visit to NABU in Germany. During his stay, he also met Jörg-Andreas Krüger, NABU President, and Thomas Tennhardt, NABU Director International, to exchange information about snow leopard conservation in Pakistan. For the first time, the award is being presented to Pakistan and its due credit goes to BWCDO’s team in Skardu which relentlessly worked for the conservation of the majestic snow leopards. For its outstanding work, the Pakistani NGO furthermore received international recognition by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and was awarded with the Equator Prize 2017. It is led by Dr. Shafqat Hussain, Rolex Award Laureate, and managed by Ghulam Mohammad, CEO of BWCDO. We congratulate and thank the team of Baltistan Wildlife Conservation and Development Organization for its passionate commitment to protect snow leopards and their habitat!
The NABU Snow Leopard Award
Since 2018, the NABU Snow Leopard Award is presented annually to individuals and organizations that have shown exceptional commitment to protect the endangered big cat and its habitat. The prestigious award is endowed with 5,000 Euros. On the International Snow Leopard Day, October 23, 2021, BWCDO was declared the award winner of 2021. In previous years, the award went to the former President of Kyrgyzstan Rosa Otunbajewa, the Tajik NGO Burgut and the former ambassador of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan in Germany Erines Otorbaev .
Mountains, deserts, rainforests: Asia has an incredible range of ecosystems and species. In Central Asia NABU has been active on the ground since the 1990s to protect those threatened paradises of nature. In South East Asia, NABU and its partners focus on protecting and restoring landscape-scale rainforests on Sumatra and Sulawesi. more →