The community-based conservancies are not only a safe haven for willdife and in particular mountain ungulates. In the conservancy areas other wildlife, snow leopards, several Turkestan lynx, Tien Shan brown bear, wolves, small carnivores, golden eagles, vultures, and many other species are protected. Most conservancy areas are formally only assigned for wildlife management; some areas are leased for land-use by the small businesses. In both cases the managers cannot fully exclude the use of pastures and woodlands for livestock grazing, fuel wood collection and other uses, but together with the community members ways are sought to make all land-uses as sustainable and as wildlife friendly as possible. In fact the conservancies not only protect wildlife but contribute to the preservation of vulnerable ecosystems and their entire biodiversity and the services they provide to the local people, to the nation of Tajikistan and to the entire humanity.
By rehabilitating and conserving its key prey species – Asiatic ibex, argali and markhor – the community-based conservancies substantially contribute to the conservation of snow leopard. Snow leopards kill mountain ungulates and can thus be perceived as being harmful to the sport hunting opportunities in the conservancies. But the approach of hunting management and quota setting is to harvest only a small portion of the animals, to minimize hunting impact on the populations and to allow for natural selection of the game species, including by wild carnivores. The selective pressure by snow leopards helps to keep the ungulate populations healthy in veterinary and genetic terms and supports functional ecosystems. Furthermore, the snow leopards are an indicator of the state of ungulate populations, an asset for nature tourism and a natural heritage of the communities, Tajikistan and global humanity. For these reasons all members and partners of H&CAT have agreed not only to tolerate snow leopards, but to support actively their protection and monitoring.
The major threats for the survival of snow leopards are the depletion of their prey species, poaching and retaliatory killing in situations of conflict with livestock owners. These threats are addressed within the conservancies and in other areas by the members and partners of H&CAT. Poaching of snow leopards is prevented by the rangers of the conservancies, local informants assist in capturing poachers, leg hold traps and snares are collected and confiscated. The H&CAT members and partners inform livestock owners and herders how best to avoid livestock losses to snow leopards and other predators and assists in making corrals predator proof to prevent the carnivores from entering them and killing of livestock.
The occurrence of snow leopards and their population numbers are monitored with the help of automatic cameras and the analysis of genetic material from fecal samples.