Big cats are one of planet earth’s most iconic animal families.
The pinnacle of natural selection, they occupy a unique place in human culture and imagination. Despite this, big cats are under threat like never before, as they struggle to adapt to the Anthropocene. Join big cat conservationist Dr Jonny Hanson for an interactive exploration of this story, including the science of big cats, their conservation and our fascination with them.
Told through the medium of Jonny’s own fascination – from tracking leopards in Africa as a teenager and working with most big cat species in captivity, through to work on snow leopard conservation and rewilding Ireland – this live show will leave you even more fascinated by big cats.
Today, International Snow Leopard Day 2021, join conservationist Dr Jonny Hanson for an interactive and engaging exploration of the science of snow leopards. From natural selection and camera trapping to social surveys and ecosystem services, learn about the natural history of and threats to this elusive big cat, its coexistence with local communities, and the significance of its mountain home for the world and all its inhabitants. Drawing on Jonny’s experience of working with snow leopards in captivity, his research on snow leopard conservation in the field, and his ongoing involvement in snow leopard conservation, this talk blends science and adventure, humour and wonder, in this inspiring profile of the Mountain Ghost.
It’s not the imposing spires of the Himalayas that are the world’s most challenging peaks; it’s the mountains of the mind. These mental massifs also dictate the success or failure of snow leopard conservation, and of nature conservation in general. Some parting thoughts from the series in Snow Leopard Fieldwork Diaries 19.
Two months on from finishing fieldwork, the snow leopard conservation journey continues.
The Himalayas may be thousands of miles from where I sit writing this, but their epic proportions feel much closer to home. That’s because the mountains that I’ve been working amongst over the last two months are not physical entities but mountains of data. With over 700 household questionnaires and 70 interviews collected there’s a lot of information to be sifted through and checked. I’ve just spent three weeks, for example, going through around 15,000 responses to open questions – were the respondent can say whatever they want rather than picking predetermined answers – and putting them in relevant categories. Only now am I ready to start analysing this data with statistics.
Conservation = nature + human nature. But it’s the human nature bit that’s the tricky part, especially where large carnivores are concerned. Snow Leopard Fieldwork Diaries explores the nuances of these relationships in Nepal’s Annapurna Conservation Area.
How people in Annapurna Conservation Area think about and feel towards the snow leopard.
In the ‘voices of those who matter‘ we looked at how people in Sagarmatha National Park (SNP) felt about the snow leopard. In this blog we do the same with the 500-plus people we’ve talked to in our other study site: Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA) After all, these are the people who live alongside the snow leopard day-in, day-out. Their views of of the species are often shaped by practical experiences of losing livestock or via their religion, rather than through the comfortable lens of zoological collections or wildlife documentaries. But like people everywhere, their opinions are diverse, multifaceted and important.
One of the world’s most remote and extraordinary places, Nepal’s NarPhu valley has everything: stunning scenery, challenging trekking, Tibetan Buddhist culture, Cold War history. And did we mention the snow leopards? A week of wonder in Snow Leopard Fieldwork Diaries 17.
A blow-by-blow account of a week spent in the restricted NarPhu valley searching for snow leopards and their calling cards.
Start: Koto 2600m
Finish: Mehta 3560m
Net altitude gain: 960m
Journey time: 8 hours 45 minutes
Armed to the teeth with permits, we were let into the valley by the police without any problems. Immediately a different world: no tourists, no road, hardly any litter. The river gorge we followed was incredible – 1,000m/3,300ft rock walls towering over us on both sides, the sky a sliver of light far above. Sore neck from continually gaping upwards. Below the narrow path a sharp fall to certain death in the ferocious Naar khola (river). Exhausting walk. Out like a light.
With tackling tax loopholes making global headlines, as nations seek to simultaneously finance post-COVID and green economy investments, it’s worth taking a fresh look at the significance of this for conservation, as we seek to stem the loss of genes, species and ecosystems by investing in the global public good that is biodiversity. My blog from 2014, and my subsequent editorial in Oryx, delve deeper.
Conservationists should take note of tax dodging and its potential links to biodiversity loss, argues Jonny Hanson, although research is needed to clarify the relationships.
Santa Claus is in trouble. A recent cover of the satirical British magazine,Private Eye saw him being heckled for living offshore and not paying tax in the UK. This irreverent take on Father Christmas may have been in jest, but it underscores the magnitude of the issue: tax dodging is highly political. Especially since the financial crisis of 2007-08, and from the grassroots to the great and the good, it has rarely been out of the public spotlight.
That’s because tax dodging is big business. Christian Aid, an international development NGO, estimates that $160 billion of tax is lost every year by developing countries due to tax dodging by multinational companies (MNCs) alone. This is 50% more than the entire global aid budget.