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Visitors’ willingness to pay for snow leopard Panthera uncia conservation in the Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal

  • Maurice G. Schutgens (a1), Jonathan H. Hanson (a2), Nabin Baral (a3) and Som B. Ale (a4)

Abstract

The Vulnerable snow leopard Panthera uncia experiences persecution across its habitat in Central Asia, particularly from herders because of livestock losses. Given the popularity of snow leopards worldwide, transferring some of the value attributed by the international community to these predators may secure funds and support for their conservation. We administered contingent valuation surveys to 406 international visitors to the Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal, between May and June 2014, to determine their willingness to pay a fee to support the implementation of a Snow Leopard Conservation Action Plan. Of the 49% of visitors who stated they would pay a snow leopard conservation fee in addition to the existing entry fee, the mean amount that they were willing to pay was USD 59 per trip. The logit regression model showed that the bid amount, the level of support for implementing the Action Plan, and the number of days spent in the Conservation Area were significant predictors of visitors’ willingness to pay. The main reasons stated by visitors for their willingness to pay were a desire to protect the environment and an affordable fee. A major reason for visitors’ unwillingness to pay was that the proposed conservation fee was too expensive for them. This study represents the first application of economic valuation to snow leopards, and is relevant to the conservation of threatened species in the Annapurna Conservation Area and elsewhere.

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Corresponding author

(Corresponding author) E-mail mauriceschutgens@gmail.com

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Also at: Jubilee Farm CBS, Larne, UK

Supplementary material for this article is available at https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605317001636

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