Conservation and Adaptation in Asia's High Mountain Landscapes and Communities Project

December 2012 - December 2017

Implementing Partner: 
World Wildlife Fund

Amount: $7,000,000 (regional budget); $390,000 (Kyrgyz Republic)

Key Partners:
State Agency of Environment Protection and Forestry of the Kyrgyz Republic

High mountains of Asia: Issyk-Kul oblast in Kyrgyzstan

This project is working to facilitate technical and policy dialogue on high mountain landscape management in the face of climate change. This will help prepare communities to address key vulnerabilities to climate change, conserve snow leopards as a critical indicator of Asia’s high mountain landscape health, and provide practical and measurable demonstrations that advance a vision for water security and sustainable mountain development across Asia.

The principal objectives of this project include:

  • Promote climate-smart management of high mountain landscapes and snow leopard habitat for sustainable development
  • Improve transnational collaboration on climate change adaptation and snow leopard conservation in Asia’s high mountain landscapes.

The focuses on six of the 12 known snow leopard range nations, including Bhutan, India, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Nepal, and Pakistan.

Project Activities

In the Kyrgyz Republic, the project will focus on following activities:

  • Organize training for selected local communities and NGOs of eastern Issyk-Kul province on self-governance and sustainable management of local natural resources
  • Conduct workshops at selected project sites to promote use of yaks as a climate-smart alternative to domestic sheep and goats
  • Develop and support community-based eco-friendly income generation training and alternatives (felt production, facilitating market linkages, production of yak/horse milk and cheese, and eco-tourism)
  • Conduct snow leopard population survey by collecting and performing genetic analysis, and potentially use camera traps in sites where snow leopards are present.
  • Support patrolling by providing field supplies and gear, and conduct trainings to improve capacity of private game management entities
  • Involve local communities in species conservation activities through education and training (e.g. snare removal and fire prevention)
  • Support habitat management practices (e.g. establishing feeding fields and ensuring mosaic structure of habitat in agricultural landscapes)
  • The project works with the State Agency of Environment Protection and Forestry to improve management of protected area in Central Tien-Shan Mountain.

Project achievements

  • Key role in organizing the October 2013 Global Snow Leopard Conservation Forum in Bishkek. All 12 snow leopard range states came together at the forum for the first time to improve snow leopard conservation efforts.
  • Organizing the first training for national focal points responsible for implementing the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP) unanimously adopted by all snow leopard range states at the forum in Bishkek.
  • Raising local awareness of snow leopard conservation issues through various public events like Engilchek Village snow leopard festivals in October 2013 and 2014, . Akshyrak Village Earth Day celebration, a children’s summer eco-camp, and a travelling photo exhibit on the Sarychat-Ertash State Reserve.
  • WWF made good progress towards completion of a climate vulnerability assessment for the project region of eastern Kyrgyzstan, which included extensive interviews with local herders and farmers.
  • Training village residents in the buffer zone of the Sarychat-Ertash State Reserve on climate change impacts and adaptation strategies. Climate adaptation demonstrations in Akshyrak village included raising yaks as a breed of livestock resilient to climatic changes in high altitude areas, erecting of a wind generator as a renewable energy source suitable for remote off-grid communities, supporting local handicraft trainings and handicraft marketing to diversify incomes.
  • WWF provided support for training needed to establish two local development funds in the three main project villages in Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan. The funds provides financing for a variety of sustainable alternative livelihood and development activities.
  • WWF continued to provide needed support and equipment for the Sarychat-Ertash State Reserve to conduct snow leopard and prey species monitoring surveys as well as anti-poaching operations.