Photograph by George B. Schaller
Grantee: Shafqat Hussain
Shafqat Hussain, who originally began his career as an economist, founded Project Snow Leopard in 1998 to save the endangered cat in Baltistan, Pakistan.
Project Snow Leopard works to create and maintain livestock insurance schemes at the local village level. A primary threat to the snow leopard is trapping and killing in retaliation for livestock attacks. The insurance scheme, now working in ten villages and expanded to 15 with the help of the Big Cats Initiative, helps herders recover the monetary loss of killed livestock and mitigates their desire to retaliate. The organization is also building predator-proof corrals for households that have sustained repeat livestock attacks.
Based on scat analysis, Hussain has found that the local snow leopards’ diets are 30 to 40 percent livestock. This highlights the delicate balance between conservation of the snow leopard and local villagers’ economic well-being.
Nat Geo WILD presents a week dedicated to nature’s fiercest felines—big cats—creatures of magnificent strength, ferocity, and beauty that are rapidly facing extinction. With visually stunning and powerful stories from around the world, get closer than ever before to lions, tigers, cheetahs, panthers, and more as you share in their triumphs, defeats, and epic struggles to survive.