Poaching is a significant problem for snow leopards (Panthera uncia). The SLT’s article states that at least four snow leopards each week, and possibly one per day, are poached. Unfortunately, this is likely to be an underestimate.
Snow leopard fur and body parts are sought after in the illegal wildlife trade. It is believed that like jaguars, their bones are being used as tiger substitutes for traditional Asian medicine. Indeed, snow leopard DNA has been found in traditional ‘medicine’ products.
To combat this growing threat, conservationists need better and more accessible information about snow leopard poaching and illegal trading. To this end, the USFWS, SLT, and Global Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP) have teamed up to create a new anti-poaching database.
This database will be a crucial tool for protecting snow leopards. It will unite disparate bits of information, track trends in snow leopard poaching and illegal trading, and make it easier for stakeholders to share their knowledge with each other. The result will be more targeted, strategic efforts to combat poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.
For my part, I am thrilled to see all of these agencies working together. Conservation-related news involving the US has been largely negative lately, so I am happy to see the USFWS contributing to this vital project.
Be sure to check out the original article for more information!