GIVING MORE to Improve the Livelihoods of Families in Snow Leopard Habitat
This year, Snow Leopard Vodka helped officially launch a new program for environmentally sustainable cashmere. The multibillion-dollar global cashmere industry is producing overgrazing and trophic cascades across Asia’s iconic mountains. Holdings of domestic cashmere goats have almost tripled in the last 20 years, with concomitant increases in the killing of snow leopards by humans protecting their herds. There is a severe degradation to rangelands, massive declines in wild prey species, and even local extinctions. With your support, we developed a program that enables herders to implement ecologically-sound grazing and wildlife protection plans in order to receive ‘Sustainable Cashmere’ certification. The program provides monitoring/proof for certification, and buyers pay above-market premiums for certified cashmere, increasing earnings and incentives for herders. We successfully piloted this program in three villages in northern India involving 135 herders. Learning from this pilot will help us improve and expand the model within India. Our ultimate goal is to introduce it in China and Mongolia—two of the world’s largest cashmere producers. If this program is successful it could have huge potential for shifting the cashmere industry to being more sustainable.
With your support, the Snow Leopard Enterprises handicraft program expanded in Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, and India. This program empowers women in snow leopard habitat to earn extra income, and have greater voice and engagement in conservation. In Kyrgyzstan, earnings from the program have been high enough for communities to stop aiding illegal hunters and poachers, and rely on conservation-based income instead. In 2017, 400 women from 37 communities participated in Snow Leopard Enterprises earning, on average, between $100-$300 in extra income.
In Pakistan, you made it possible for more than 3,000 households to take part in a ‘snow leopard-friendly livestock vaccination program’ and vaccinate over 60,000 livestock. Data show that livestock mortality to disease drops by more than 50% in participating villages. This helps communities buffer against livestock depredation and build tolerance for the cats.
Thank you for all your help. Cheers to Conservation!