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snow leopard

Sabin Snow Leopard Grants Program

With the generous support of the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, Zoo New England is managing the Sabin Snow Leopard Grants Program.

Snow leopards remain one of the least studied and most poorly understood of all the big cat species. Listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, they face a myriad of threats including killing in retribution for livestock depredation, poaching for hides and bones, loss of natural prey, and such emerging threats as resource extraction and infrastructure development.

Both research and conservation efforts are hampered by a lack of funding and, at a range-country level, by a lack of skilled and well-equipped scientists and conservation practitioners. This is true across nearly all of the big cat’s vast two million square kilometer range, which encompasses Asia’s highest and most remote mountain ranges.

The Sabin Snow Leopard Grants Program provides strategic funding to worthy recipients from around the world, especially in the 12 snow leopard range states. The program supports research and conservation capacity within the snow leopard conservation community and helps to identify gaps in knowledge or needed conservation actions, as well as funding new projects that fill these knowledge gaps or provide missing conservation interventions.

The Sabin Snow Leopard Grants Program has been essential in funding critical research and building successful conservation projects based on sound science. It has contributed to the building of scientific capacity in snow leopard range states in a way that was not otherwise possible. Zoo New England is proud to continue providing this important support to snow leopard conservation so this magnificent big cat can continue to survive and thrive in its high mountain home.

At the start of 2024 we awarded six grants to snow leopard conservationists studying a wide range of topics important to the conservation of this enigmatic and threatened big cat. These include:

  • Working with local communities to minimize conflict and protect snow leopards;
  • Performing health assessments of snow leopards through non-invasive techniques;
  • Studying changing predator dynamics between snow leopards, common leopards, and Himalayan wolves and assessing their impacts on local communities;
  • Determining spatial and temporal patterns of snow leopard diet in Nepal;
  • Characterizing snow leopard diet and health across Pakistan to inform conservation efforts;
  • Supporting a global initiative to ensure the long-term future of the global snow leopard population.

Working in often extreme conditions, the conservationists undertaking these difficult projects are leading the effort to help protect and conserve snow leopard populations. Zoo New England is honored and grateful to have the opportunity to support these field researchers as they work to protect this rare and beautiful big cat.