Snow Leopards
Tibetan Buddhist Monks are doing their part to help save the endangered Snow Leopard species

The love and respect of all living creatures is a basic part of Buddhism. Some monks understand this deeply and have taken to protecting endangered snow leopards that live near them. With these big cats being killed often by two separate groups, it seems it has become important to provide some protection to them.

In a new study by Conservation Biology, it’s reported this protection has come in the shape of Tibetan monks who have been patrolling the area to make sure that anyone who wishes to harm the leopards cannot.

Snow leopards in China are being endangered by both poachers and herders. The poachers want to kill them for their coats and their organs. The coats provide a lot of warmth that they find highly desirable, while the organs play an important role in traditional Chinese medicine. Herders want to stop the snow leopards from killing their sheep and goats. This together has led to the snow leopard population dropping by 20 percent over the decades.

The study says “We found that monasteries not only organized patrols of their sacred mountains, but also educated the local communities about environmental protection.”

With their lives being targeted, having a friend in the Buddhists is literally a lifesaver. Monks are often patrolling the area around their monasteries in the Sanjiangyuan region of China, where the snow leopards live, to make sure that the animals are safe. Large numbers of monks are making this effort because they truly care about the lives of these animals. Monks are even being trained to protect the wildlife to make sure that it survives what humans can do to it.

Everything the monks have been doing has been highly effective so far. Their efforts have helped to ensure that snow leopards continue to survive, even with poachers and herders wanting them gone for various reasons. A major reason for this is the fact that monasteries are very close to where the leopards’ territory is. This means that their active patrolling can be done where the hunting is most likely to take place. This leads to greater results and the ability to keep snow leopards alive. When conservation organizations take part in what the monks are doing, the chances of success are even higher.

The monks have been speaking to locals to teach them how wrong killing these beautiful leopards is. They want everyone to understand how precious life is and how dangerous it is to hunt them down to extinction. Along with this, monks do have the support of many locals already. Being Buddhists, many feel the same about life. They do not want to see snow leopards go extinct and they do not participate in these hunts. With such a large amount of local support, the snow leopards could survive much longer.

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