In 2013, under the leadership of the then-President of the Kyrgyz Republic, we helped create the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP). Since then, the Snow Leopard Trust has continued to support the Secretariat of this intergovernmental cooperation alliance of Environment Ministers of all 12 snow leopard range countries. Recently, the incumbent President, Sadyr Zhaparov, visited snow leopard habitat with our staff and recorded a video appeal to the people of the world.

In his address to a plenary session on the conservation of mountain ecosystems, glaciers, and snow leopards at UNFCCC COP28, the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Sadyr Zhaparov, urged for global efforts to conserve the shared heritage of the Third Pole and the snow leopard. This session convened Environment Ministers from countries within the snow leopard’s range and representatives from international organizations.

Delivering his address from the heart of the Ala-Archa Nature Park, President Zhaparov underscored Kyrgyzstan’s unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship. He shared his personal involvement in setting up camera traps to capture images of the elusive snow leopards in their natural habitat. These images provide invaluable insights into their behavior and population dynamics. Assisting him in this endeavor was our team, including Dr. Koustubh Sharma and Chyngyz Kochorov from the GSLEP Secretariat, and Kubanychbek Jumabai uulu (Kuban), our Kyrgyz Program Director.

Acknowledging the global significance of the snow leopard, President Zhaparov emphasized the pivotal role of the Kyrgyz Republic in uniting countries under the GSLEP, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. This joint initiative is a testament to Kyrgyzstan’s commitment to the preservation of these magnificent animals and their critical habitats.

“The snow leopard is not only a symbol of the natural and cultural wealth of Kyrgyzstan but also an indicator of the stability and health of the mountain ecosystem,” stated President Zhaparov, underscoring the critical role of the snow leopard’s habitat in supplying water to one-third of the global population.

Drawing attention to the alarming rate at which the snow leopard’s habitat is warming, President Zhaparov stressed the importance of conservation efforts. “Our commitment to protecting these mountains is a commitment to protecting the future of our planet,” the Kyrgyz leader observed.

We’re heartened that President Zhaparov called for global cooperation and invited everyone to join the efforts to preserve the shared heritage of the Third Pole and the snow leopard.