Ecotourism, Kyrgyzstan


Conservation of snow leopards and mountain ecosystems is integral to the economic, cultural and ecological well-being of the people of Asian High Mountains. The snow leopard range countries are committed to conservation of snow leopards through various national and international programs, and their endorsement of the Bishkek Declarations 2013 and 2017.

Conservation tourism has tremendous potential as a means for generating revenue for local communities, government, and goodwill for wildlife. If managed effectively, conservation tourism can present an opportunity to generate awareness while enhancing local livelihoods and supporting snow leopard and biodiversity conservation. Experiencing the uniqueness of these high mountain ecosystems while potentially building public support for and contributing to their conservation can be a multi-faceted benefit of conservation tourism in snow leopard habitats. However, if implemented inappropriately, tourism can cause damage to the already fragile mountain ecosystems through pollution, disturbance to wildlife and inequitable sharing of benefits with the local communities. Snow leopard watching tours have tremendous potential for the development of local communities.

This project is a collaboration with Ak Shyyrak village, adjoining Sarychat Ertash Reserve in the Central Tien Shan, a GSLEP landscape proposed for prioritisation of snow leopard conservation in Kyrgyzstan.This will be a kind of first experience in conducting snow leopard tours in Kyrgyzstan.

Lessons learnt from the ongoing project’s implementation are being used to develop a policy advisory for the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic. The policy advisory provides guidelines and postulates to implement environmentally and socially responsible tourism in Protected Areas.

The project paves the way for the implementation of such tours in key areas in or around the country's Pas and supporting local communities.