Snow Leopard insurance: a free market approach to conservation

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While the term “insurance salesman” may get a bad rap, the concept of insurance makes many things in life possible.

Thanks to insurance, banks are comfortable enough to give large loans for cars and homes, and people are able to rent cars, boats, and bikes.

Now the concept of insurance is coming to a new area of life: conservation.

Specifically, insurance is coming to Snow Leopard conservation, and the new program is seeing big success.

As reported by Positive.News:

The India-based Snow Leopard Trust has pioneered a model of conservation that works with communities to protect the big cats in 12 countries, including India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It has implemented, among other things, insurance programmes to compensate herders when they lose livestock to snow leopards – a move designed to reduce retaliatory killings. 

The model has been hailed a success and this week its executive director, Dr Charudutt Mishra, won a Whitley Award, which celebrates solutions to the biodiversity crisis. The £100,000 prize will be used to export the model abroad.”

While the program was started with outside funding, it is self-sustaining through investments made by the herders themselves. The Snow Leopard Trust explains that herders can, much like with a home or car, “contribute premiums for any animal they want to insure” and that “they can submit a claim and receive reimbursement for the loss.”

Such free-market initiatives offer solutions for both the leopards and the local families, rather than heavy-handed government programs which oftentimes encourage dependency and frustration without any benefit to animal populations.

The full story in Positive.News can be found here.

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* This article was originally published here


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