In October of 2018, the Baltistan Wildlife Conservation and Development Organization (BWCDO) together with the Education, Forest, and Wildlife Departments, Iqra Fund, and the local communities and schools, organized and celebrated a special International Snow Leopard Day event in Basha Valley Shigar Baltistan.
Basha Valley is a remote area where the local people are dependent on farming and livestock for their livelihood. It’s also well known for hot springs, glaciers, and wildlife. However, the local communities were unaware of the significance of the valley’s natural resources. So, for the past 12 years, the BWCDO has partnered with the Snow Leopard Conservancy to create awareness and promote local community involvement in snow leopard conservation.
As part of the 2018 snow leopard event, 13 students participated in speech, poetry, and drawing competitions with entries focused on the challenges of snow leopard conservation.
BWCDO Chief Executive Officer, Ghulam Muhammad, explained that the BWCDO works with communities to “alleviate economic hardships” due to predation by the snow leopard on livestock. They have predator-proofed corrals and implemented insurance programs that provide reimbursement for livestock losses. He emphasized that education is imperative in order to both reduce poverty and resolve environmental issues.
Community member, Manzoor Hussain, commended the BWCDO’s works and said that because of their efforts, the local communities are gaining an understanding of the relationship between the health of the environment and the wildlife that inhabit it and look forward to continuing to work with the BWCDO.