SnowLeopard@home is a project which aims to enable private owners to take part in captive conservation of endangered cat species.
With the number of wild-living endangered cat species dwindling, captive conservation of these animals becomes more important than ever. Public zoos and their breeding programs try their best to save the species by maintaining a genetically diverse population. However, they face a fundamental problem: space. The number of enclosures in zoos is limited, and even the largest breeding programs can only hold a few hundreds of animals. There also are a few non-public breeding initiatives, but considering the numbers necessary for successful captive conservation, they are like a drop in the ocean.
At the same time, there are plenty of people who would make great and responsible private owners of endangered felines. The only thing that sets them apart from private breeding initiatives is that their motivation for wanting to own such an animal is to have some degree of contact with it. While not everyone may agree with private ownership of “exotics”, one must never forget that private owners provide capacity for captive conservation that wouldn’t be there otherwise. And since private owners pay for the upkeep of their own animals, they put money into captive conservation that wouldn’t normally be available for it.
This is where our project comes into play. We selected the snow leopard as the most suitable species for private ownership, as it is far less dangerous than other big cats and also highly tractable and affectionate. Unlike other big cat species, a well-trained and socialized snow leopard can be expected to be reasonably non-dangerous. This makes it possible to set up a program that allows private owners to take part in captive conservation efforts, even if the only reason for their wish to own a big cat is to have contact with it.
The focus of our project is on the safety and well-being of both the animals and their owners. In order to ensure both, we are developing a thorough training, socialization and character testing program for our animals. We also plan to offer advanced training and internship opportunities for prospective private owners, so that every new owner has the necessary knowledge and skills to properly care for his endangered feline.
If you have any questions regarding our project that aren’t answered on this website, do not hesitate to write us through our contact form!