Community Managed Livestock Insurance Schemes

BWCDO’s central mechanism to resolve the conflict between farmers and snow leopards is a livestock insurance program. This initiative functions through annual premiums from individual farmers into a community endowment fund. The fund is co-managed by BWCDO and village members elected to the Village Insurance Committee (VIC). If a farmer loses livestock due to snow leopard predation and VIC representatives verify the claim, the farmer is compensated accordingly. Through livestock insurance schemes, the communities are able to disperse the cost of any livestock lost to snow leopard predation amongst the entire community instead of it being placed on an individual farmer. This insurance scheme insures over 40% of households in BWCDO’s target areas and has paid out over $35,000 in compensation. As a result of this program, local farmers have more often been catching snow leopards alive, allowing for them to later be released back into the wild.

Difficulties with this approach have arisen through unfavorable attitudes towards the annual payments, as some farmers express that the loss of a goat or a cow is undervalued through economics alone. For this reason, the livestock insurance program is coupled with education efforts, participatory research, and plans to meet local development goals such as providing clean drinking water