WWF compensation sheep increase in numbers



Posted on 13 March 2008

This winter was one of the coldest in the recent history of Turkmenistan, with temperatures staying below minus 20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit) during one and a half months.

The freezing weather became a serious threat to the WWF sheep compensation project, as primitive living conditions in the region make it difficult for domestic animals to survive such low temperatures. However, only less than a dozen out of 800 sheep died during the winter. Moreover, this spring, 300 lambs have already been born in the compensation herd.

WWF sheep compensation programme consists in giving Turkmen shepherds sheep as a compensation for sheep, cows and horses killed by leopards to prevent human-animal conflict in the region.

Poaching as a revenge for killed livestock is one of the threats to the rare Persian leopard, which inhabits the mountains of Turkmenistan. To solve the problem, WWF launched the sheep compensation project in 1999-2000 by buying a flock of 200 sheep and electing a council to manage it. Now, when a sheep is killed, the council decides whether or not the sheep was killed by a leopard, and in case it was, gives a new sheep to the owner as a compensation. The size of the herd has by now exceeded 1000 sheep.

Some cities in Central Asia were left without electricity and heating for weeks during this harsh winter
© WWF-Russia / Valentina Marochkina Enlarge
Armenia: Persian leopard. 9 March 2005, 01.45am. Authors: A Malkhasyan, I. Khorozyan, M Boyajyan. Financial support: Aalborg Zoo, PTES, WWF

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