Nordens Ark Foundation has a firm commitment to snow leopard conservation. The park has held snow leopards since 1989, and Nordens Ark’s zoologist is responsible for both the international studbook and the European breeding programme. In 2010, our engagement was strengthened when we, for the first time, decided to support research into wild snow leopards in Mongolia. Nordens Ark is working with the Snow Leopard Trust in a study that aims to increase understanding of the species in the wild, and thereby contribute to its preservation.
One of the world’s most mysterious cats, the snow leopard (Panthera uncia) lives in the high mountains of Central Asia. It is found in 12 countries in Asia, in some of our planet’s most remote and inhospitable habitats.
The snow leopard, a flagship species for Asia’s mountain ranges, is threatened with extinction.
Even though it is protected by law in all 12 countries, its numbers are falling in large parts of its range. Today there are between 3,500 and 7,000 snow leopards left in the wild. The species is listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the IUCN.
In the past, research into the snow leopard has been sketchy, so basic knowledge of the species’ ecology, and reliable population estimates, were sorely lacking. To increase knowledge about the species a unique Long Term Ecological Study started in 2008. It is based in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia and Snow Leopard Trust is in charge of the study. The study will continue for several years and comprises three different activities: research, development of conservation work, and education. Nordens Ark has a role in this work. We have paid for GPS collars that allow researchers to follow the snow leopards’ movement patterns and find out what they eat, how far they roam and much more besides. We also finance researches working with the study.
In addition, we’re working with Snow Leopard Enterprise and sell hand-woven wool products from Mongolia in our shop at Nordens Ark. Money from these products goes direct to the local people in Mongolia and to conservation of the snow leopard in the wild.
The Swedish Postcode Lottery supports Nordens Ark’s field work with the snow leopard.