Snow Leopard Trust
Prancing Leopard Organics partners with the Snow Leopard Trust
Prancing Leopard Organics is proud to be a Partner of the Snow Leopard Trust; Prancing Leopard donates 2% of their profits to this organization. In a similar fashion as Prancing Leopard’s Artisan Program, they help local underserved communities to help themselves while sustaining traditional handicrafts and culture, but on top of that they also are playing a key role in saving an important endangered species.
The Snow Leopard Trust
The Snow Leopard Trust is the largest and oldest organization working solely to protect the endangered Snow Leopard (Uncia uncia) and its habitat in 12 countries of Central Asia. The Trust is a non-profit organization with its headquarters in Seattle, Washington. The present total population of snow leopards in the wild is estimated at between 4,000 and 7,500.
The Trust was founded in 1981 by Helen Freeman (March 10, 1932 – September 20, 2007). Working as a volunteer at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo Freeman became fascinated with the snow leopards there and learnt about their endangered plight. She later joined the staff of the Zoo and was motivated to set up the Trust to protect the snow leopard in the wild and its habitat. She also began the Trust’s philosophy of helping the people sharing the snow leopard’s habitat improve their standard of living in exchange for protecting the animal.
Today the Trust performs scientific research projects, manages community-level conservation programs, and fosters global collaboration amongst snow leopard experts and other snow leopard support groups.
The Trust raises money through donations, grants, fundraising events and sales of products on its website shop, and is supported by zoos and other conservation organizations. The Snow Leopard Trust is recognized as a 4-star charity by Charity Navigator, and is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA), World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), and Co-Op America.
Mission and philosophy
The Trust works on projects that will help protect the cat and its habitat as well as meeting the needs of any humans that share the habitat area with it. Some of the approaches the Trust takes are based on co-operative work to change government policies, partnering with communities to build community based conservation programs, enforcing anti-poaching laws and supporting research efforts.
Currently, the Snow Leopard Trust focuses its efforts in five snow leopard range countries: China, India, Mongolia, Pakistan, and Kyrgyzstan. In these countries, the Trust employs staff to carry out research, education, and conservation. In the seven other countries within snow leopard range the Trust supports and collaborates with researchers and conservation organizations.
Co-operation with communities in snow leopard range countries forms the basis of the Trust’s on the ground conservation work.
When a region has been identified as a place of significant snow leopard habitat the Trust works with local residents to understand their needs and then jointly develop conservation programs. These conservation programs must meet four important goals -
1. the protection of snow leopards and their habitat, involving local communities in this effort
2. an improved quality of life for the members of the community
3. the program developed must have a path to becoming self-sufficient so long term it is not dependent on donor dollars
4. the results of the program must be verifiable through monitoring programs.
Snow Leopard Enterprises (SLE) is one of the Trust’s major community programs. Over 300 herders in Mongolia participate by making handicraft wool products to increase their income in return for helping protect the snow leopard in their region.
The families have all agreed to stop hunting snow leopards and prey species while also helping with anti-poaching activities.