Target: Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai
Goal: Encourage protection of snow leopards, their habitats, and the people of Afghanistan
Snow leopards are an endangered species on the brink of extinction. Many factors affect the big cats’ well being including habitat loss, poaching and retribution hunting. However with careful attention to detail, planning and compassion, snow leopards may have a chance to flourish once again.
With territory in the remote mountains of Central Asia, it is hard to believe that snow leopards are endangered. They are an elusive species that, in previous times, would generally keep to themselves; human population inflation and industrialization have changed these statistics. Snow leopards have beautiful coats and body parts that have become a favorite of poachers; their pelts fetch high monetary trade values and the cats’ bones are used in ancient Asian medicinal recipes. Livestock demands have pushed farmed land further into the mountains, encroaching upon big cat habitat. This encroachment has caused loss of prey animals, forcing snow leopards to focus on livestock for food, which in turn causes farmers to participate in retribution hunting with the goal of killing snow leopards.
Much of Central Asia faces extreme poverty. Poaching serves as an income boost and livestock serves as food and revenue. Many people are simply trying to make a living and feed their families. Killing off endangered predators for money or retribution is not right, but this does not resonate with those who are impoverished. Help needs to be more readily available for the people of Central Asia in order for help to become available for the declining number of snow leopards.
Habitats need to be left alone, heavier penalties for killing snow leopards need to be in place and help needs to be given to the people of Central Asia. Change needs to start somewhere: urge the Afghanistan government to increase conservation efforts, for people and snow leopards, and encourage other countries to follow suit.
Dear President Hamid Karzai,
Each day the snow leopards of Central Asia step closer to extinction. Their habitats are in jeopardy; their pelts are in high demand and their lives at stake from retribution hunting. There is a dire need for change on many levels; the snow leopard cannot be neglected and the people of Afghanistan cannot be left in poverty.
Habitat destruction is rampant due to encroaching livestock and logging. Snow leopard pelt and bones are worth a lot of money, which makes them a prize for those who are impoverished and trying to feed their families. Livestock serves as a food source and revenue for the people of Afghanistan; the peoples’ need for more money leads to expansive grazing of land which stretches into big cat territory. Snow leopards were once elusive and abundant; they are now in danger and need your help.
Please encourage more compassion and help for the impoverished citizens of your country. This attention in turn will help snow leopards thrive once again. Snow leopards, with only 6,500 left in the wild, are considered an endangered species. Afghanistan’s environmental agency, the National Environmental Protection Agency, functions to promote conservation of species. Help them attain this goal by urging more help for the poor, less habitat destruction and heftier poaching fines. Encourage your neighboring countries to follow your lead.
The snow leopards need your help. Please do not let them disappear.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: xtreming via DeviantArt