Protecting snow leopards for over forty years

aka Snow Leopard Trust or ISLT   |   Seattle, WA   |


Founded in 1981 in Seattle, WA, the Trust is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to protect the snow leopard and its mountain ecosystem through a balanced approach that addresses the needs of the local people and the environment. Snow leopards range over two million square km of mountain in Central Asia, including the formidable Himalayas. Experts currently estimate as few as 3,500 exist in the wild. As an "umbrella" or keystone species, snow leopard conservation helps protect hundreds of other plants and animals in the ecosystem. The Snow Leopard Trust is the oldest and largest organization focused solely on saving this important species. The Trust's work focuses on research, education, advocacy, and community-based conservation.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Dr. Charudutt Mishra

Main address

4649 Sunnyside Ave N #325

Seattle, WA 98103 USA

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NTEE code info

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Protection of Endangered Species (D31)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Snow Leopards are an endangered, majestic feline that roam the high mountain ranges of Asia. With only an estimated 3,900-7,500 cats remaining in the wild, and with threats to their existence growing rapidly, the extinction of this species is a real possibility. The snow leopard is an indicator species for ecosystem health. In turn, snow leopard habitat is a watershed for some of the world’s largest rivers and a rich diversity of flora and fauna. In these mountains, snow leopards and rural people struggle to survive and adapt to climate change. Local people suffer economically and emotionally when snow leopards kill their livestock. To retaliate for livestock and crop attacks, and to compensate for livestock and crop losses, local people often turn to retribution killing and poaching. The mountains of Asia are also recognized amongst the most vulnerable regions in the world to climate change.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Snow Leopard Enterprises

Snow Leopard Enterprises provides herders with the financial assistance, logistical support, equipment, and training they need to turn raw wool into high-quality, felted products such as rugs and clothing. The Trust purchases these products directly from the herders and sells them worldwide to increase awareness about snow leopard conservation. Herders agree to help the Trust protect snow leopards, their prey, and the habitat they all share.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples
Economically disadvantaged people

To strengthen community-based conservation efforts and inspire the next generation of nature conservationists, the Snow Leopard Trust runs environmental education programs for children and adults in the areas where we work, including outdoor eco-camps and Nature Clubs.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

The Snow Leopard Trust conducts groundbreaking ecological research in five countries across Central Asia. In Mongolia, we created a Long-Term Ecological Study (LTES) that is focused on growing our knowledge of snow leopard behavior and patterns of land use. Through this study, we have been able to continuously monitor wild snow leopards as they hunt, interact with each other, and move around their home range.

Population(s) Served

The loss of even a single animal to predation can create great financial hardship to herder families. Our livestock insurance program helps rural communities reduce the financial impact of snow leopard predation by giving them access to compensation for animals lost.

Population(s) Served

Some herder families in snow leopard habitat lose up to five times more livestock to diseases than to predation. The livestock vaccination and ecosystem health program helps solve that problem by offering vaccines and animal husbandry trainings in snow leopard communities.

Population(s) Served

We manage programs to support local communities and rangers to reduce reliance on illegal wildlife trade, monitor and patrol for illegal activity, and apprehend poachers. Snow Leopard Trust helps support a reward and recognition program for rangers and community members, and is developing the first snow leopard anti-poaching database to inform enforcement agencies.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


4 Star Rating 2014

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Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The Snow Leopard Trust (SLT) has been working since 1981 to ensure the survival of this cat and is the world’s oldest and largest organization focused solely on snow leopard conservation. We aim to protect this endangered cat through community-based conservation projects that are based on an improved scientific understanding of snow leopard behavior, needs, habitats and threats. We work in strong and respectful partnership with local communities to find solutions that allow humans and snow leopards to live and thrive in harmony. The Trust mobilizes the snow leopard conservation community (scientists, researchers, international and local agencies, donors, governments, etc.), and expands support of the Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem and Protection Program (GSLEP).

The Snow Leopard Trust works in 5 of the 12 countries where snow leopards are found - China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and Pakistan. Collectively, these 5 countries contain over 75% of the world’s population of wild snow leopards. In each of these five countries, we’re working through a local partner organization, led by local staff members. They conduct snow leopard research, lead community conservation programs, and negotiate policy decisions with local authorities.

The lack of basic knowledge about snow leopards, due to their elusive nature and expansive ranges in difficult to reach locales, is a major obstacle in developing effective conservation interventions. We run the most comprehensive, long-term, and cutting-edge research programs on the ecology of snow leopards, prey and habitats, the sociology of local communities and on understanding threats to snow leopard survival. The Trust proactively supports and helps to develop the next generation of snow leopard scientists and conservationists by helping to fund and mentor 5-10 PhD students each year. We also help build capacity of in-country conservation practitioners from the Government and other agencies in wildlife monitoring and conservation.

The Snow Leopard Trust is a global pioneer in community-based conservation – it is the foundation of every country program portfolio. Historically, conservation has been imposed on local people who have resultantly been marginalized and lost access to traditional lands, natural resources, and ecosystem services. We work directly to improve the lives of local people and respectfully empower local communities to conserve snow leopards.

The Trust has learned however that conservation efforts can not engage only at the grassroots level and expect to be sustainable or impactful at a meaningful scale. Many threats to snow leopards, such as large scale infrastructure development and climate change, can only be addressed by engaging policy makers. Today, conservation demands that we work with a diversity of stakeholders, including governments, industry, schools, multi-lateral organizations, and the citizenry at large. The Snow Leopard Trust is key technical and strategic partner in the Global Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Protection Program. Adopted by all 12 snow leopard range countries at the 2013 Snow Leopard Conservation Forum in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, the Global Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Protection Program is an ambitious, multilateral effort to secure viable snow leopard populations across the cat's range. An initial goal of the program is to secure at least 20 snow leopard landscapes by 2020. Range countries have identified 23 such landscapes, and are currently working on management plans to ensure they can be safe havens for these cats.

The Snow Leopard Trust engages with all 12 snow leopard range country governments and implements field programs in the five range countries with the largest population of snow leopards: China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Pakistan. In the other seven range countries we engage at the national policy level and promote international cooperation.

In each of the five countries, the Trust collaborates with a nationally registered partner organization. These field teams are comprised of and led by host country nationals and they are the key conservation implementers. In most cases, the Trust initially hired and supported the country director to establish the locally registered NGO. This close collaboration with the director and senior staff is key in building a shared vision, and a strong sense of trust and belonging.

In these long-term partnerships, the Trust provides institutional capacity building, technical support and training and mentoring to the local staff. We also help secure funds from donors for projects and provide direct funding from the Trust. We develop our conservation plans together and promote coordination and collaboration between country programs. The Trust strengthens the profile of each partner via social media, email campaigns, and other targeted communication outreach. As a community, the Trust and its partners comprise a powerful mix of trained scientists, sociologists, social entrepreneurs, educationists, and grassroots conservationists.

1) To inform our conservation strategies and monitor the impact of our programs, the Trust supports ongoing population monitoring of snow leopard and wild prey in five countries, and regularly collects socio-economic and attitude data from our partner communities. We are also conducting a long-term ecological study of the snow leopard in Mongolia to provide more in-depth understanding of the species and its needs. Through this study, we have collected first-ever robust information on male vs female home range sizes, snow leopard diet, juvenile dispersal, and reproduction. Our findings are regularly shared with the international conservation world through scientific publications, reports and lectures. In line with our strategic plan, we are also spearheading a new, global effort to estimate the entire snow leopard population across its 12-country range.
2) We collaborate with 5,000 families from over 50 herder communities in Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, India and Pakistan. We provide economic opportunities to reduce herder-wildlife conflicts and mitigate the costs associated with livestock depredation by snow leopards.
3) The Trust and its partners strive to protect important snow leopard habitat that lacks state or federal Protected Area status. With support from Mongolia herder communities we successfully advocated for Government of Mongolia to save 7,500 sq km area of South Gobi, Mongolia and approve it as a state Nature Reserve. We are also working with Government of Kyrgyzstan to convert hunting concessions in snow leopard habitat into wildlife sanctuaries.
4) We provide educational opportunities for children living in snow leopard habitat aimed at building appreciation and understanding for snow leopards and of the threats they face. We are able to reach over 1,500 children annually. We also support graduate students (especially women) from snow leopard range countries looking to pursue careers in conservation, wildlife biology, and other related fields.
5) Anti-poaching. We work closely with international partners, including INTERPOL, to train rangers in crime investigation and wildlife law enforcement. We host ceremonies to honor ranges for their efforts to stop wildlife crime, and we are spearheading development of the first database related to snow leopard crime.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    Many community partners are nomadic and can be hard to reach, which can delay receiving feedback.



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Board of directors
as of 08/04/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Rhetick Sengupta


Jed Gorden

Swedish Hospital

Gayle Podrabsky

Lisa Dabek

Woodland Park Zoo

James Platts

Gary Podrabsky

Stephen Sparrow

Barbara Blywise

Brad Rutherford

Seattle Aquarium

Todd George

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable