Responsible tourism: Snow leopard conservation vacation in Kyrgyzstan
Little is known about the status and distribution of the globally endangered snow leopard in the area and its interaction with prey animals such as the Tien Shan argali and Central Asian ibex, and its reliance on smaller prey such as marmots, ground squirrels and game birds. Biosphere Expeditions will provide vital data on these issues, which can then be used in the formulation of management and protection plans. The expedition will also work with locals in an effort to build capacity, educate and involve local people in snow leopard conservation and generate income through responsible tourism activities. Working from a mobile base camp, the expedition will work in areas that are protected (such as Ala Archa National Park) and those that are not.
We are a multi-award winning (including multiple awards from Responsible Travel), not-for-profit organisation committed to running real wildlife conservation research expeditions to all corners of the Earth and says
Our projects are not tours, photographic safaris or excursions but genuine research expeditions, promoting sustainable conservation and preservation of the planet's wildlife by forging alliances between scientists and the public. Our goal is to make, through our expedition work, an active contribution towards a sustainable biosphere. We believe in empowering ordinary people by placing them at the centre of scientific study and by actively involving them out in the field, where there is conservation work to be done.
We always work in close conjunction with local people and scientists and try our best to ensure that the fruits of our expedition work benefit our local helpers, their society and the environment they live in. Adventure, remote locations, different cultures and people are part and parcel of our expeditions, but also the knowledge that you will have played an active role in conserving part of our planet's biosphere. We exist for those who, through their hands-on work, want to make a difference to the survival of the particular species or habitat under investigation, and to the world at large. We invite everyone to come and join us out in the field, at the forefront of conservation, to work, learn, experience and take responsible guardianship of our planet.
To achieve this we will wherever possible: + collaborate with reputable scientists, research institutions and educational establishments (wherever possible from the host nation) who are experts in their field + collaborate with organisations and businesses which operate in an ethical and/or sustainable way + operate in an ethical and sustainable way, minimising negative impacts on local cultures, environments and economies + publish results and recommendations based on collaborative work together with those who helped gather data and draw conclusions.
On this expedition our main partner is the German conservation organisation NABU (Naturschutzbund = nature conservation alliance). Founded in 1899, NABU is one of the oldest and largest environment associations in Germany. The association encompasses more than 450,000 members and sponsors, who commit themselves to the conservation of threatened habitats, flora and fauna, to climate protection and energy policy. In Kyrgyzstan, NABU, in cooperation with the Kyrgyz government, is implementing a programme to conserve the snow leopard through a twin approach of research and the prevention of illegal hunting and trade of the endangered species.
All missions are developed with local partners and scientists, as well as community representatives where appropriate. This consultation serves to minimise negative impacts on local cultures. This is often developed through a more complete integration into the local community, by working alongside them to achieve a conservation objective.
Accommodation varies from fixed camps, jungle lodges to tents. Where applicable, these will be owned locally.
Where possible food is sourced from locally supplied produce and ideally from organic sources.
Where applicable, team members are encouraged to spend their relaxation time using local facilities and resources.
We always work in close conjunction with local people and makes sure that the fruits of our work benefit local helpers, their society and the environment they live in.
Briefings before the start of the mission and leaders during the mission highlight relevant social issues and offer best practice examples to team members.