Land of the Snow Leopard Network


Buyanbadrakh calling in the spirits


Association for the Protection of the Altai Cultural Heritage, Mongolia

Baikal Buryat Center for Indigenous Cultures

Slava Cheltuev, Shaman and Sacred Site Guardian, Altai-Russia

The Christensen Fund

Conversations du Monde

Ecological Movement of Kyrgyzstan, Alene,

Foundation for Sustainable Development of the Altai-Russia

Mongolian Herders’ Network

Nomadic Nature Conservation. Mongolia

Pamir Mountains NGO, Tajikistan

Zhaparkul Raimbekov, Sacred Site Guardia, Kyrgyzstan

Rural Development Fund, Kyrgyzstan

Salbuurun Federation, Kyrgyzstan

Soyot Khambo Lama Danzan

Taalim Forum, Kyrgyzstan

Worldwide Indigenous Science Network,




Since 2010, the Snow Leopard Conservancy has worked with its partners to build a coalition of Indigenous Cultural Practitioners (ICPs) who live and work in snow leopard habitat. The term ICP includes shamans, tribal medicine people, sacred site guardians, and revered elders.


The conservation community increasingly recognizes that cultural and biological diversity are deeply linked and programs should take into account the ethical, cultural and spiritual values of nature. The framework for this creative merger is provided for in the United Nations’ Brundtland Report and Agenda 21 of the World Summit on Sustainable Development.  See links to these and other resources at the end of this page.


The goals in our Land of the Snow Leopard Network program are:


  • Merging western and indigenous approaches to scientific knowledge;
  • Establishing a precedent for Indigenous Cultural Practitioners (ICPs) to be co-equal partners in snow leopard conservation, standardize integration of relational world-views in such planning,
  • Revitalizing ancient ceremonies to remember and honor the snow leopard spirit as a unifier of humanity;
  • Establishing sacred sites as education/interpretive centers for the spiritual and terrestrial ecology of snow leopards;
  • Empowering cultural practitioners with new communication technologies, and building an on-line network.





After two years of effort, LOSL network member Association for Protection of Altai Cultural Heritage successfully established “Spirit Lord of Sutai Mountain” as intellectual property. Sutai Mountain, located in Khovd Province, stretches about 4090 meters) above sea level.

LOSL members from Kyrgyzstan and the Russian Altai Republic represented the network at the GSLEP Stocktaking and Steering Committee meetings held in Kathmandu, Nepal, in January.

Zhaparkul Raimbekov was invited by the UN and Kyrgyz Head to represent the Land of the Snow Leopard Network at a panel discussion in New York to mark International Snow Leopard Day, October 21, and to publicize the GSLEP.

Abdylkalyk Rustamov, Director of the Kyrgyz Agency on Environment Protection and Forestry stressed the importance of integrating climate-smart conservation efforts with the interests and needs of the local communities who share the snow leopard’s habitat.

In his closing blessing, Zhaparkulspoke of the inherent value and dignity of the snow leopard, and of the impor- tance of mutual respect between all creatures.



The Conservancy brought together twenty Indigenous Cultural Practitioners from Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and the Altai and Buryat Republics of Russia for a ten-day workshop in Mongolia. We outlined ways to improve cultural components of education programs, and drafted the content for a custom computer Application (APP) to facilitate wildlife monitoring and data collection in a way that supports the needs of local communities as well as the goals of the Global Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Protection Plan (GSLEP).

The participants selected Land of the Snow Leopard as both the name for our network and its App. The App was translated into the five languages used by our Network members.Field testing and refinement of the Beta version of the App continued through the year in anticipation of the planned GSLEP Steering Committee meeting, which was postponed until January 2017.



The Kyrgyzstan Head of State initiated a Ministry-level effort to create a Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection Plan (GSLEP).  See Global Plan in our Conservation section for details.  This effort presented the first-ever opportunity to directly involve ICPs in such high-level planning for conservation.

 The Conservancy convened a workshop of ICPs living and working in snow leopard habitat. Participants gathered in Kyrgyzstan and exchanged their experiences of and connections to snow leopards, and developed a Statement to present to the GSLEP Forum.

In October 2013, the Forum delegates met at the Kyrgyz State Residence where the GSLEP was endorsed by all twelve snow leopard range countries. Rodney Jackson addressed the assembly and read excerpts from the ICP Statement.  Kyrgyz Sacred Site Guardian Zhaparkul Raimbekov was asked to perform a brief closing prayer.


 See a 15 minute video of this historic occasion.





United Nations Framework

Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report, from the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), 1987.

Agenda 21, UN Conference on Environment and Development, 1992.