Chinese researcher calling for joint protection of snow leopards in Pakistan

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Chinese researcher called for joint protection of snow leopards in Pakistan, according to a report published by China Economic Net (CEN) on Tues-day.

The report says that “The border between China and Pakistan is an important habitat for snow leopards.

The two countries need to work together to protect this area for sustained biodiversity”, said Professor Li Dongming from Hebei Normal University in an interview with CEN.

Recently, his team, with three Pakistani researchers involved, published an e-Letter article titled “Snow Leopards at High Risk in Pakistan” on Science.

Commenting the article “The snow leopard’s ques-tionable comeback” published in 2018, the e-Letter analysed the root causes of human-snow leopard conflict and proposed the measures to protect this precious species.

Snow leopards, also known as the “ghost of the mountains”, are the flagship species of the Himala-yan alpine landscape.

Globally speaking, there are about 8000 snow leopards still surviving by estima-tion. Among them, about 400 reside in Pakistan, especially the Khunjerab National Park and sur-rounding alpine areas.

“As an advanced predator, the large feline animal is important in the food chain because they play a positive role in maintaining stable populations of its prey, such as the herbivore ibex”, Professor Li in-troduced.

“We started our research on Pakistani snow leopards in 2020, when Dr. Shahid Ahmad joined our center for post-doctoral studies on ecology.

With a Ph.D. degree from Beijing Forestry University, he has long been studying the conservation biology of snow leopards and wild goats in Pakistan”, Profes-sor Li told CEN.

Ghulam Nabi, a Pakistani teacher at the university, and Tauheed Ullah Khan from Kohat University also commit themselves to the research.

According to their study, four factors aggravate the human-snow leopard conflict in Pakistan. First of all, the current trophy hunting policy has reduced the availability of prey, which in turn causes snow leopards to attack more livestock, stirring poaching and revenge killings.

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