Snow Leopard Cubs: Milestone achieved through David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation funding
We are delighted to share with you recent news from our project partners, Snow Leopard Trust (SLT), in Kyrgyzstan where we are proud to support vital snow leopard conservation and education work. The ground based team have recorded the first-ever confirmed snow leopard cubs sighting in the Shamshy Nature Reserve, an ex-hunting concession converted and protected with DSWF seed funding.
Remote camera traps recently captured images of a mother and her two cubs (thought to be about 6 months old), confirming that there is now a breeding population of snow leopards in the area.
Previously, the Shamshy Nature Reserve was used as a hunting concession, where for decades legally hunted ibex populations were decimated, negatively impacting on the potential location as a viable sight for any snow leopard populations. In 2016, thanks to early stage funding from the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, SLT worked with the Kyrgyzstan Government to convert the land to a nature reserve, a sanctuary for snow leopards and ibex alike to flourish and repopulate.
Since the land was converted, DSWF has continued to fund SLT and their innovative management has yielded encouraging results; an increase in ibex numbers and records of snow leopard activity. Now it is with great excitement, we can confirm that breeding snow leopards are using the area- the ultimate sign of success. This is truly promising news for the future of Shamshy and towards efforts to protect snow leopards. With an estimated population of 150 – 500 snow leopards in Kyrgyzstan the sighting of two new additions is truly a conservation achievement and moreover, a sign of hope for this threatened big cat.