After the collapse of communism in Mongolia in the 1990s, the number of livestock grazed across the country’s vast plains increased drastically. To date, as many as 70 million camels, horses, cattle, sheep, and goats roam in Mongolia.
With so many hungry mouths eating away at the meadows, the fragile landscape has become damaged and degraded. In search of fresh pasture, the herds travel into snow leopard territory.
Elusive snow leopards are extremely sensitive to changes in their environment, and with their natural prey displaced by an influx of livestock—they can turn to the next food source, be it cow, sheep, or camel.
One single snow leopard can kill up to 20% of a herder’s flock over the course of a season. This is catastrophic for the communities whose lives are entirely dependent on their animals.
In a desperate bid to protect their livelihoods, some herders can resort to killing the leopards.
This type of retaliatory killing is one of the main threats to the endangered snow leopard, and with as few as 4,000 of them remaining in the wild, a solution is urgently needed.
This is where the puppies come in.