All captive conservation projects need to raise funds in order to launch and operate. While some facilities are lucky enough to have generous sponsors or to receive public funding, most projects have to rely on donations. This is a fundamental limitation of traditional conservation breeding centers – they cannot sell anything except for merchandising items, or double as a zoo and collect small-to-moderate admission fees from visitors. Contrary to such facilities, our corporate concept includes multiple ways to earn substantial revenue. This will enable us to not only sustain our operations without having to rely on donations, but also to build new facilities and upgrade existing ones with our own funds.
Public education and PR work
One of our main goals is to educate the public about the possibilities and benefits of keeping endangered cat species privately. We will rely on YouTube videos as our primary means of reaching out to the general public, while more complex and in-depth topics will be covered by texts on our website. Together, these channels will help to raise public awareness about captive conservation by private owners, as well as provide valuable information for anyone who is considering to acquire a large cat himself. This will be especially helpful for reaching out to people who seriously want to become private owners, but previously dismissed the idea as impossible.
Besides the general effect of improving the reputation of private large cat ownership, the YouTube videos will act as advertisements for everything we have to offer. This will become especially important once we reach a stage where our snow leopards become available to private owners.
Additionally, YouTube videos can be monetized if they attain enough popularity. Since a large cat domestication project can be rightfully called a sensation, popularity and a high viewer count will be almost a given. That way, we will be able to offset our keeping expenses or even make some profit even at this early stage of the project.
Documentation, transparency and research
A fundamental principle of our operations will be the comprehensive documentation of our work. The best way to achieve this is to run a CCTV system at all times and everywhere where we have contact with the animals. Those recordings will serve several important functions: captured interesting moments can be published as short clips, our methods of work can be used for research projects, and last but not least, we will have solid evidence of the non-aggressive character of our animals.
In addition to the video surveillance, we will keep comprehensive written records of our work and of the animals’ behavior. This will allow us to evaluate the character of our animals over a long period of time, as well as to develop and optimize our animal training methods.
We also plan to make most of our data available to scientists who study animal behavior or human-animal interaction. The enormous amount of collected data can greatly benefit research projects in this field, and the analysis done by the researchers can help us to scientifically improve our animal training methods.
As soon as we are absolutely positive that our snow leopards are safe to have contact with, we will launch a unique animal encounter program. It will differ from the normal petting encounters offered at some zoos and other facilities, in that we will offer far longer contact sessions. While other facilities normally do not offer sessions longer than 5-10 minutes, our encounter program will offer at least 60 minutes of contact time, with the possibility of booking even longer sessions. During these sessions we will offer an educational program which will cover general species information, as well as educate visitors about captive conservation efforts by private owners. The length and closeness of our encounters will guarantee that these messages will stick.
Volunteering and internship programs
Another key part of our project will be our volunteering and internship opportunities. These programs will provide opportunities to gain hands-on experience with large cat training for anyone who needs such experience (e. g. to provide emotional enrichment for animals kept in zoos or breeding centers) or is simply interested in hands-on work with our animals. In addition to this, internship programs will also provide the opportunity to gain practical experience with other aspects of feline husbandry. This will be especially important for aspiring private owners, as they would struggle to get this kind of experience anywhere alse. It will also have the advantage that a future private owner will be able to familiarize himself with his future animal, significantly reducing the stress of rehoming for the animal and eliminating the risk of a mis-match.
Snow leopards in private hands
Once we breed enough snow leopards to be able to give them away, our project will progress to its third stage. We will make our snow leopards available to people who wish to keep them for contact. Once again, we will offer certain crucial things that haven’t been offered by any facilities before. All prospective owners will receive a comprehensive consultation about every aspect of snow leopard keeping. This will include a husbandry and handling course custom-tailored for our snow leopards, help with enclosure planning, information about legal requirements in the customer’s area, and other relevant information.