Last updated: 03:30 PM ET, Tue September 13 2016

Where to See Snow Leopards in Afghanistan

Destination & Tourism | Janeen Christoff | September 13, 2016

Where to See Snow Leopards in Afghanistan

Photo courtesy Thinkstock. 

Conservation efforts have succeeded in one of Afghanistan’s most remote regions and snow leopards populations are growing. Travel + Leisure’s Jess McHugh writes about how the potential for tourism to see these creatures can make a comeback once the war is over. 

“When peace returns to Afghanistan—and it will, as no war lasts forever—Wakhan has great potential for ecotourism,” Mostapha Zaher, director general of the National Environment Protection Agency in Afghanistan, told AP.

Even with ongoing conflict in other regions, Wakhan is still a remote and peaceful area within the country, albeit its hard-to-reach location.

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“Wakhan still remains relatively isolated, however, and much of the year it is unreachable because of snow. While a conflict with the Taliban continues 18 miles to the south, the mountainous region has remained relatively peaceful, as it is so remote,” writes McHugh.

“Conservation of snow leopards is one metric to measure a healthy ecosystem, according to Matthias Fiechter, communications manager for the Snow Leopard Trust,” writes McHugh. 

“Every species has a value and deserves to be there,” he tells Travel + Leisure. “They’re a symbol of a healthy ecosystem, and a healthy ecosystem is important to all of us.”

One thing is for sure, when tourism returns to Afghanistan in earnest, the snow leopards are going to be a main attraction. 

For more on Afghanistan’s snow leopards and conservation efforts, go here

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