[botswanapredatorforum] Re: Report on Setata Fence

  • From: "Sean Williams" <seanw@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <botswanapredatorforum@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 16:46:29 +0200

Hi Guys, again, please can you remove me from the mailing list. Thanks.


Sean Williams
Business Machine Services
P/Bag BO 160
Tel: (+267) 3956146
Fax: (+267) 3912423
Cell: (+267) 71307442
E-mail:  seanw@xxxxxxxxxx <mailto:seanw@xxxxxxxxxx> 
Web: http://www.bms.co.bw <http://www.bms.co.bw/>  
Skype:  sean.c.williams

This e-mail message and all attachments contain the CONFIDENTIAL AND
PROPRIETARY information of E-Africa Holdings (Ltd) and may contain
LEGALLY PRIVILEGED information. If you are not the intended recipient,
you are hereby notified that any disclosure, distribution, or use of
this e-mail, its attachments or any information contained therein is
unauthorized and prohibited. If you have received this in error, please
contact the sender immediately and delete this e-mail and any


From: botswanapredatorforum-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:botswanapredatorforum-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Dereck
Sent: 13 February 2008 16:45
To: botswanapredatorforum@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [botswanapredatorforum] Re: Report on Setata Fence


Did you see this on the wire Sat...
Does anyone feel there are applications in Botswana?
Saturday, 16 June 2007


 By Julian Cribb

  snow leopard

  With only 3,000 to 7,000 individuals left in the wild

  across the Himalayas, the snow leopard is one of the

  rarest and most elusive creatures in the world.



 From time immemorial, shepherds in the Himalayan mountains of
Baltistan, in northern Pakistan, have hated the snow leopard as 
 much as their Australian counterparts disliked dingos. Half the Balti
economy comes from domesticated goats that are prey to  
 the snow leopard, largely because its traditional wild food - the ibex
and markhor - are almost gone. So local herders do not 
 hesitate to kill the snow leopard, which is also at risk from the
illegal trade in its highly-prized pelt.                    


 Yale University researcher Shafqat Hussain, who originally trained as
an economist, created Project Snow Leopard (PSL) in     
 1998 to try to save the snow leopard in Baltistan. This non-profit
conservation programme combines ecotourism and low-cost    
 insurance, protecting herders against attacks by the leopards on their
livestock. The plan is helping local people realize    
 that one cat alive in the surrounding bush is worth more to them than
several killed for the fur trade.                       


 Hussain, who describes the snow leopard as "a marvel of nature's
perfection", explains that, sitting at the top of the food   
 chain, this animal plays a key role in maintaining the mountain
ecosystem. Dr Ma Ming, of the Snow Leopard Trust in Xinjiang, 
 China, calls it an "umbrella species": protecting it ensures its
habitat and many other local species are also preserved.     


 Wonderfully adapted for the extreme weather and rocky terrain, the snow
 roams wild at altitudes up to 5,500 metres in the Himalayan peaks.
Furry feet help it stay on top of the snow by acting as    
 natural snowshoes. This rare creature hunts alone for wild and
domesticated goats and other prey, which it pounces upon from  
 up to 15 metres away. With a total population estimated at between
4,000 and 7,000 scattered across the Himalayas, including  
 fewer than 150 in Baltistan, the snow leopard is listed as "endangered"
on the IUCN (the World Conservation Union) Red List   
 of Threatened Animals.



 This elusive relative of the tiger and more familiar African leopard is
one of the least photographed, but most photogenic of 
 big cats, with its metre-long tail and handsome dappled coat.



 The insurance scheme set up by Hussain compensates villagers for every
goat killed by the predators, which effectively deters 
 the villagers from killing the offending cat or any other suspect. The
annual premium paid is one per cent of the value of    
 one goat, with each herder paying according to the number of goats he
owns. This covers about half of all claims. The other   
 half comes from Full Moon Night Trekking, the ecotourism agency Hussain
founded, which advertises the snow leopard as its     
 chief attraction.



 "People who find pleasure in the idea of the snow leopard surviving in
the wild should be willing to pay for this pleasure,   
 and this payment helps offset the losses to farmers for having the cat
around," he says. To succeed, both complementary       
 programmes must be profitable, another reason for locals to protect the
animal at the heart of the project. A key aspect of   
 the scheme's success is the fact that local people participate at every
level. Village committees collect premiums, pay       
 claims and act as the scheme's financial watchdog. Villagers control
the income from Full Moon, using surplus profits for     
 community projects, like making wells for drinking water. Full Moon
also employs two villagers as guides.                     


 Until recently Project Snow Leopard covered a relatively small area of
170 square kilometres embracing the environs of the    
 village of Skoyo, which has 260 inhabitants, and other nearby
settlements. With support from his Rolex Award, Hussain is now  
 extending his project to more Balti villages near Skoyo and K2, the
world's second highest mountain. He also hopes to attract 
 more ecotourists, many of whom are staying away because of the 2005
earthquake and bad publicity about Pakistan in the wake   
 of 9/11. Hussain points out that Baltistan is very much associated with
adventure tourism, but he wants it to be known for    
 ecotourism. "Things can change and other trekking companies now mention
wildlife in their brochures because Full Moon started 
 to do it," he says. "In Nepal [also home to snow leopards], they have
about 200,000 visitors per year; here in Baltistan, we  
 only have about 5,000."



 The added funding will also allow him to build better fences to protect
livestock and to update the counting of leopards,     
 mainly by automatic unmanned cameras dotted across the mountain
landscape. Hussain's broader vision is to demonstrate that    
 human villagers and feline predators can live side by side. By
involving local people, he is gradually convincing the         
 villagers that man and beast can profitably coexist. He sees it as
"sadly ironic" that in many places there is more concern   
 for endangered biodiversity than for humans. "No matter how charismatic
an animal is, its survival should not come at the     
 cost of poor human farmers," Hussain says. But he adds that he is "only
one of many who are trying to make a difference for   
 snow leopards and herders", pointing out that his project would not
survive without local colleagues who run the scheme when  
 he is in London and at Yale University writing his Ph.D. thesis on the
relationship between human societies and the natural   
 environment in the mountains of northern Pakistan.



 His innovative idea of enlisting local support and willingness to
challenge widely accepted ideas have won him many admirers, 
 including Rodney Jackson, the renowned snow leopard authority who won a
Rolex Award in 1981 for his work to save them.        
 "Hussain's work is groundbreaking, especially since he brings the
social and ecological sciences together," Jackson says. "My 
 impression is that Hussain's original programme is more effective [than
similar ones inspired by his scheme], thoroughly      
 designed and appropriately implemented."       


Other related posts: