Education for Conservation: Establishing leopard-friendly communities.

20 October 2009 | News story

A leopard conservation project in Northern Pakistan has advanced human-feline relations in the area through the provision of educational training schemes.

The Leopard conservation project, which is supported by the IUCN’s Sir Peter Scott Fund for Conservation Action and donor organization Fondation Ensemble, has launched a series of ‘Safety Measures’ training initiatives, aimed at local communities as a means of combating the current negative perception of leopards, and diminishing the risks of leopard attacks on both humans and their livestock.

Predation on livestock has long been a source of negativity towards leopards, but the number of retaliatory attacks on the species recently increased dramatically, with 13 leopards being killed since June 2005 in the Abbottabat district of Pakistan alone, after a rogue animal attacked and killed a reported 6 people.

The project set up a variety of accessible training sessions and lectures, some of which were aimed at specific target groups within the local community, with topics ranging from precautionary and protective measures against leopard attacks, to the importance of leopards in the ecosystem and leopard behaviour. For the younger members of the community, Nature Clubs were established, which have so far proven to be a great success, with a massive 150 students registering to take part in 2008.

Furthering its aim to impart conservation knowledge and improve local attitudes towards leopards, the project ensured that information was shared with communities throughout the region, through a variety of media tools and local forums. The enthusiastic participation in the training schemes provides us with hope for the future of the leopards of Northern Pakistan.


For more information about this project contact: Muhammad Waseem, Research Officer, ‘Leopard Conservation in Pakistan’ at mwaseemwwf@gmail.com