At the International Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Conservation Forum 2017 in Bishkek, the range country governments formally endorsed a plan to develop a global snow leopard population assessment. The ambitious initiative, called Population Assessment of the World’s Snow Leopards, or, in short, PAWS, aims to produce a robust estimate of the threatened cat’s population status within the next 5 years.
The GSLEP secretariat has been tasked with coordinating this initiative, and has developed an Action Plan which has been approved by the GSLEP Steering Committee.
PAWS aims to bring together the global snow leopard conservation community’s resources, manpower and expertise to jointly arrive at a scientifically robust population estimate.
One major focus of PAWS – and a condition for its success – is the establishment of agreed-upon best practices and protocols for data collection and management for population assessment. This includes undertaking new studies as well as the inclusion of existing abundance data into a global estimate. A panel of technical experts will support this process, and will invite feedback and input from all partners.
Based on these agreed-upon protocols, on-the-ground data collection and analysis will be carried out according to their capacity by the various PAWS partners – conservation organizations, government bodies and academic institutions working across the different habitat zones and countries.