To mark the International Day for Biological Diversity, the Kyrgyz State University named after I. Arabaev in Bishkek hosted a roundtable discussion. The event focused on two magnificent big cat species: the snow leopard and the Arabian leopard.
The scientific discussion welcomed distinguished guests, including the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic,Ibrahim bin Radi Al-Radi; Dr. Koustubh Sharma, Director of Science and Conservation at the Snow Leopard Trust; Chyngyz Kochorov, Head of the GSLEP Secretariat; and university faculty and students.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Kochorov highlighted the significance of International Day for Biological Diversity. This day serves as a critical reminder to the public about the alarming and irreversible loss of plant and animal life on Earth.
Ambassador Ibrahim bin Radi Al-Radi passionately addressed the plight of the Arabian leopard. With only a few dozen individuals remaining, this critically endangered species clings to survival in a handful of Arabian Peninsula countries.
Dr. Koustubh Sharma emphasized the shared threats faced by both snow leopards and Arabian leopards, despite their geographical separation. These threats include illegal wildlife trafficking, habitat destruction, retaliation killings by humans due to livestock predation, and poorly planned infrastructure development. The situation is further compounded by the pressing issue of global warming.
Dr. Sharma concluded by proposing a collaborative conference organized by the GSLEP Secretariat, the Saudi Embassy, and the academic community. This event would foster the exchange of experiences and best practices in leopard conservation, and could involve potential donor partners and companies.
The roundtable also featured presentations by university professors and students, delving deeper into the fascinating world of snow leopards and Arabian leopards. To recognize outstanding achievement, the GSLEP Secretariat, in collaboration with the Kyrgyz State University, presented certificates and commemorative gifts to exceptional students.