About Snow Leopard Trust Camel Yarn
The Snow Leopard Trust helps endangered Asian snow leopards, protects wildlife habitat, and improves the lives of impoverished families. In Mongolia, camel and sheep herders have often come into conflict with the snow leopard, which preys on their livestock. In addition, their livestock compete for food with wild sheep and goats, thus destroying the habitat of species necessary for the leopard’s survival.
The Trust has set up programs to help the herders and the snow leopard co-exist, while improving the economic conditions of the region. Building upon the herders' pre-existing handicraft tradition and their ready supply of wool and camel fibers, the Trust is helping them gain access to markets where they can sell their wares. Every dollar brought in by the sale of these products goes back to women and their communities. Currently, more than 450 families participate, boosting their annual household incomes by as much as 40%. In return, the herders agree not to kill snow leopards or their prey, and to follow responsible herding practices.
The people live in close and respectful relationship with their domestic animals. Two Munich film-school students (Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorni) made a documentary, released in 2005, about the close ties between the herders and their camels. Entitled "The Story of the Weeping Camel," the documentary was nominated for an Oscar in the category Best Documentary at the 77th Academy Awards. For more information about this film, and about the herders in Mongolia’s Gobi region, visit http://www.nationalgeographic.com/weepingcamel/.
Snow Leopard Enterprises, the marketing arm of the Trust, has entered into the application process for fair trade certification. For more information on the Snow Leopard Trust and its programs, visit http://www.snowleopard.org/.