Most of the leopards’ reserves are surrounded by rural communities, some of which have schools.Many of the youngsters in these communities help their families with livestock husbandry, usually as a shepherd accompanying the herds when they are taken out to pasture. The Future4Leopards Foundation is addressing schoolchildren and students, educating them on the lives of the leopards and hoping that they will pass on this knowledge to their families and, ultimately, to the next generation of people who will have to coexist with the leopards.
The Project’s community education programs, which aim to reach juveniles aged 11 to 13 years, are implemented in partnership with the local Department of the Environment and Bureau of Education. Each child attends two series of classes specifically developed by the Foundation to be held during two school semesters. What they know about the leopard is evaluated quantitatively before and after each course.
Besides educational activities and outreach festivals, the Foundation organizes ecotours within the national parks for school kids to provide them with a unique experience of wildlife, nature camps, and museums. Thus, local people – who are not normally allowed to visit the parks – can learn more about the reserve in their area.