A win-win for farmers and wildlife?

Snow leopards sometimes prey on farmers’ livestock in Pakistan. Credit: Eric Kilby

Researchers are proposing what they hope will be a mutually beneficial solution both for low-income farmers in developing countries who are trying to protect their livestock from endangered predators and for conservationists trying to protect those predators. In a paper published in Conservation Letters, the researchers looked at a case study of snow leopards in Pakistan. They outlined a plan including insurance contracts for farmers. In those contracts, farmers can agree to share the costs of a lost livestock animal with others in their community. So, if one farmer in a 10-person community loses an animal that’s valued at $100, each community member would lose $10. Spreading around the economic impact, they suggested, would deter farmers from killing snow leopards that threaten their livelihood. The researchers hope having more snow leopards around may bring in more tourists, who in turn could benefit farmers and their commuunities.

Read the study in Conservation Letters.