Mountain Ghost: The Science of Snow Leopards

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.

Tax dodging and conservation

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.

Thinking like a human

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.

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Flying solo

In my snow leopard fieldwork diaries 2, I dice with death on a tiny plane flying to the world’s most dangerous airport, and fight with fatigue on my most exhausting day’s hiking yet…

Snow Leopard Research Nepal

On a wing and a prayer to the land of the snow leopard. Buckle your seatbelts.

Finally, it was time to head into the field. Several days of playing musical-chairs-cum-twiddle-my-thumbs-cum-sit-on-my-behind round various Government offices had paid off. On Monday afternoon I got my research permit. Happy days.

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