Conservation Forum: Rodney Jackson on the Snow Leopards of Central Asia
Join Dr. Rodney Jackson of the Snow Leopard Conservancy and Dr. Jan Janecka of Texas A&M University for a fascinating discussion on how science is blended with community-based knowledge and action to protect the iconic, rarely seen snow leopard.
Non-invasive genetics, along with computerized geographic information system (GIS) tools, map snow leopard populations and identify habitat hotspots for targeted conservation and awareness raising action. Janecka will illustrate how advanced genetic techniques can be combined with traditional approaches to gather important information on the ecology, diet, and biology of snow leopards — data critical in developing, implementing, and monitoring effective on-the-ground strategies for this endangered and elusive large cat.
Jackson will share how he and his associates engage local villagers, motivating them to become effective stewards of the snow leopard and its prey and habitat in the remote mountain ranges of Mongolia, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Russia. Jackson assists herders in improving their corrals and animal husbandry practices, while sharing how supplementary income can be earned from tourism. Through these efforts, the age-old hostilities and perceptions of snow leopards as pests are being reversed, and snow leopards are being seen as valued assets, worth more alive than dead.
Reception: 6:00 pm
Program: 7:00 pm
About the Speakers
Dr. Rodney Jackson is among the world's experts on wild snow leopards. He has 30 years' experience in Central Asia working closely with rural herders and farmers, whose lives are directly impacted when snow leopards prey upon their livestock. Recipient of the Rolex Award for Enterprise, and a three-time finalist for the Indianapolis Prize, Jackson conducted the first radio-tracking study of this big cat in the Himalayas in the early 1980s. He prepared the snow leopard section of the IUCN-World Conservation Union's Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan for Cats, and serves as Science Chair of the IUCN's Cat Specialist Core Group and the Snow Leopard Network.
Dr. Jan Janecka is becoming one of the leaders in conservation genetics and genomics. He has published over 28 scientific papers on diverse species including snow leopards, ocelots, bobcats, colugos, and mountain lions. Pioneering the application of genetics to snow leopard conservation, Janecka has developed genetic monitoring programs and trained biologists, park staff, and local villagers in Mongolia, India, Nepal, Bhutan, and China in genetic survey methods. He is a research assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences at Texas A&M University, and member of the IUCN's Cat Specialist Group, Snow Leopard Network, and the USFWS Ocelot Translocation Working Group.