Chikacheva Ridge is the home of five snow leopards
IX volunteer expedition “Tracking the Snow Leopard” completed in the Republic of Altai on the Chikhacheva ridge. The annual volunteer expedition to Mount Chikhacheva is headed by Sergei Spitsyn, a key WWF expert and the scientist of Altaisky Nature Reserve's.
This year the volunteers identified 5 individual snow leopards in this Russia-Mongolia transboundary area, including the oldest dominant male Khorgai, who has been appearing on camera since 2011, and Guta, a frequently appearing female who had two kittens this year. WWF Altai-Sayan Programme and World Around Foundation of Siberian Wellness Corporation supported a part of field survey. The volunteers came to the border with Mongolia to collect snow leopard camera trap data, survey the prey base and other indicators.
Another snow leopard we ‘ve been following by cameras for years was Khorgai, the oldest of all known snow leopard we register. This year Khorgai travelled too far to the middle part of the Chikhacheva ridge. It might have been provoked by the little number of prey this year as the cameras had not registered enough Altai mountain sheep.
The Chikhacheva ridge is located at the border of Russia and Mongolia/ WWF claims there are about 70 to 90 snow leopard left in Russia. The results of the snow leopard census of 2019 proved that the minimum number of animals registered is 65 individuals including 23 cubs.
The volunteer expedition “Tracking the Snow Leopard” is the only volunteer project in Russia to help scientists study the snow leopards. The ordinary businessmen Igor Pautov was motivated and touched by the professionsl work of Sergei Spitsyn in 2015. He organized the first expedition of ordinary people who paid for all expenses, came to Altai to set the camera traps and help the scientists. The main goal of the annual expedition to both help scientists and motivate the ordinary people for new steps.