Unboxing young talent for snow leopards
Kathmandu, Nepal – John Dewey School, NCCS, St. Mary’s School and Jagriti School won in four separate categories in the first-ever design challenge organized by WWF Nepal on the occasion of International Snow Leopard Day.
120 children of 40 schools from Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhatakpur participated in the event organized in Patan Museum to engage young minds on snow leopard conservation. By literally thinking out of the box of recycled materials provided on the spot and with a two-hour countdown, the school teams battled it out to create their perfect habitat for snow leopards that protect them from the impacts of climate change, human-wildlife conflict, poaching and habitat fragmentation. The event, which also showcased an exhibition of photographs of Nepal’s snow leopards, issues and successes, was supported by USAID’s Conservation and Adaptation in Asia’s High Mountain Landscape and Communities project and WWF UK.
“Through today’s event I got to learn so much about snow leopards, and where and how they live,” said Sanskriti Pokharel of John Dewey School. “More importantly, I have understood how humans are connected with this species and that our actions, both good and bad, can impact snow leopards.”
Nepal, home to 301-400 snow leopards, made conservation history by becoming the first country to launch its climate-smart snow leopard landscape management plan at the International Snow Leopard Summit and Ecosystem Forum in Kyrgyzstan in August 2017. The plan addresses key current and emerging threats to snow leopards and will be used as a model for other range countries to adopt.
“Nepal’s leadership in snow leopard conservation is an outcome of top-level commitment from the government and stewardship of local communities that share their home with the Ghost of the Mountains,” stated Dr. Ghana S. Gurung, Sr. Conservation Program Director of WWF Nepal. “By blending policy with conservation science, community ownership, awareness and enforcement, we aim to work beyond boundaries in a collective effort to protect this iconic species and their habitats.”
International Snow Leopard Day is celebrated on 23 October to raise awareness for the plight of the iconic species and marks the anniversary of the signing of the landmark Bishkek Declaration on the conservation of this elusive big cat on 23 October 2013 at the first Global Forum on the Conservation of the Snow Leopard in Bishkek.