"We try to combine traditional materials, techniques and symbols with designs that will appeal to the international market," says ISLT's Jennifer Shnell Rullman.
"We use good science to develop conservation programs, and work in close partnership with the local people," says Brad Rutherford, executive director of ISLT. Even ISLT's location in Seattle, thousands of miles from the nearest wild snow leopard, has proven to be an advantage in the Trust's education efforts.
Much of ISLT's financial support comes from people far away from the snow leopard's natural habitat.
To ISLT's contributors, the snow leopard is the epitome of a charismatic species, a compelling symbol of a harsh yet romantic landscape.
Yet lists and laws are likely to come to naught without the support of the people who share the cat's environment, and this knowledge animates all of ISLT'S conservation programs.
Tom McCarthy, ISLT Conservation Director, and Priscilla Allen, formerly ISLT Program Officer, got the idea for the program during a research trip to Mongolia in 1997.
ISLT staff in India found that villagers in the Spiti region were unenthusiastic about the handicraft program, possibly because this is a relatively prosperous area compared to the Mongolian steppe.
So ISLT has agreed to help herders get basic animal vaccines, previously unavailable in this remote area.
ISLT will also help the villagers market their extra animals.
To remedy this, ISLT helped develop the Snow Leopard Information Management System (SLIMS), a methodology for collecting data on pug marks, scat, scrapes, scent marks, and other signs of snow leopard presence.
The snow leopard is a keystone species in its native mountain habitat and to conserve this secretive cat, ISLT must deal with the ecosystem as a whole, especially the humans in the region.
ISLT provides a vital link between displaying snow leopards in zoos and conserving them in the wild.