Gilgit-Baltistan is home of three biggest mountain ranges including Karakoram, Hindukush and great Himalaya. These mountains provide habitat for a rich wildlife biodiversity. The ragged mountains of Gilgit-Baltistan are home to large mammals like ibex, Marco polo sheep, musk deer, Markhor , blue sheep ,Snow leopard, Brown bear, Hamalayan lynx, Black bear, fox and leopard cat etc. These wildlife species on one side increase the esthetic value of the area on the other play vital role in balancing fragile mountain ecosystems. Form last two decades people exploiting wild ungulates through using dangerous weapons which cause human-carnivore interaction, consequentially livestock depredation and communities trend increase towards killing of wild animals. It is need to increase the awareness among masses regarding functions and values of wildlife can eventually lead to decrease conflict between people and wildlife.
Gilgit-Baltistan endowed with highly productive rangeland account for 1.68 million ha of total area on which local communities (shepherd) depends for livestock rearing to meet the basic requirements of their daily life. Extensive livestock rearing practices often causes decreasing prey species resulting in most of the areas of Gilgit-Baltistan snow leopard human conflict occur.
Introduction of livestock insurance scheme can be a tool for sustainability of wild beast in nature. Formation of livestock insurance scheme among the herder of village that each member (herder) will get insurance of their livestock by paying appropriate money (fee) decided by village conservation committee. The insurance amount can be deposited in a joint account of conservation committee. In case of loss of animal by snow leopard or any other carnivore, herders can be partially compensated to minimize their loss. This strategy will enhance livestock insurance while increase the population of critically endangered species of snow leopard and other wild animals, ultimately reduce conflict between human and snow leopard. Financial compensation of the livestock rarer, occasionally prevent illegal poaching of the wild beast will at last release human pressure on snow leopard.
Wildlife department, World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-P) and Snow Leopard Foundation (SLF) can play their role in sustainable conservation of this key stone specie by introducing livestock insurance scheme on village level. insurance scheme of livestock can be initially demonstrate in a selected model village will be replaced on other potential sites for implementation.
The contributor is a Gilgit based development practitioner.