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Rs 200 Million Endowment Fund Established to Pay Compensation

Central Endowment Fund worth Rs200 million will be established under Livestock Compensation Scheme to stop ‘retaliatory killing’ of snow leopards by the local people due to loss of their livestock. According to an official of the Forest Department of the Gilgit-Baltistan, the seed money will stay in the bank and the interest will compensate herders for loss of their animals. He said, “Those who will be enrolled in conservation efforts will be compensated for losses of their livestock. If a snow leopard kills their cattle there will be ‘reporting mechanism’ through which the herders will be given payments for their losses.”

“We had a small micro insurance plan that was run by the private sector organisations but it was not sufficient due to limited financial resources. The local people did not benefit much and they were not satisfied by this effort. So we looked for the permanent solution of this problem,” he said.

The official said “In the old days, shepherds always had dogs that would alert them and also challenge the predators so there were fewer killings. But now shepherds often avoid having dogs that has led to more leopard attacks and killing of animals.” He also pointed out that more livestock die from diseases than are killed by the snow leopards, adding “It is big economic loss for the local people. Now we go to their pastures and vaccinate their livestock to stop spread of viruses and reduce death of animals.”

“The wildlife conservation has changed the attitude of the local communities. It helps fund education, healthcare and small income grants for needy widows. Now they love all animals including markhors, ibex and snow leopards,” he said. The official said “The endowment fund will certainly help protect snow leopards that are facing extinction and have been declared endangered species.”

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