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Премия рунета 2017

Snow Leopard census starts in Russia on the initiative of WWF

14 february 2019
This year the first time the experts will use smartphones with a newly developed application for snow leopard census

The wide scale snow leopard census will cover three regions, the Republics of Altai, Tyva and Buryatia, all key snow leopard habitats in Russia. It’s been the fourth year since the first wide scale snow leopard census was implemented in 2017 on WWF initiative and with support of VTB-bank. Last winter snow leopard census found 61 snow leopards totally Altai-Sayan Ecoregion.

This year for the first time the experts will use smartphones with a newly developed application for snow leopard census. The application was developed on WWF initiative in 2018 by NextGIS, a Russian IT company (Moscow). Thanks to WWF’s corporate donors prior to census all key snow leopard experts in Russia were provided with smartphones and were trained at operating the application. 

The smartphone application uploaded to one of the smartphones of the experts during the trainin in December, 2018, in Kosh-Agach village in the visit-centre of Sailugemsky National Park (the Republic of Altai).
Smartphones and accumulators of Xiao Mi are ready to be sent to the experts.
(с) Alexander Kuksin The inspector of Ubsunurskaya Kotlovina Nature Reserve (the Republic of Tyva) fills the paper forms during snow leopard census.
(с) Ivan Usanov The automatic camera is set to the Sangilen Ridge in the Republic of Tyva to register the snow leopard in 2017.
The snow leopard conservation experts from different regions of Siberia at the training on the smartphone application in 2018, December in the visit-centre of Sailugemsky National Park (the Republic of Altai).
A new application for smartphones wil be used during the snow leopard
(c) WWF / I. Usanov / S. Saparbaev / A. Kuksin
“The application will replace the methods of field data collecting when the experts had to fill numerous the paper forms. Now the expert will have a modern and time-saving new technology. This method was a logical step within the frameworks of the snow leopard monitoring programme in Russia developed by WWF Russia and the experts of the University of New York in 2017 and for the first time presented at the International Snow Leopard and Ecosytems Forum in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Since that time the programme has been field tested and improved. All data collected with the help of application are automatically uploaded on the server as soon as the smartphones catches the mobile connection. It helps to exclude the possible mistakes that normally occur during putting data from paper to the electronic sheet and provides for more accurate data collecting. Each smartphone has an individual number so it’ll be easy to monitor the effectiveness and accuracy of each expert. The experts will register different parameters such as pugmarks (or pawprints), scat, scratches etc. The scat will be collected for further genetic analysis and camera trapping data will contribute to the results”, says Alexander Karnaukhov, WWF Altai-Sayan Programme Senior Coordinator.
Sergey Malykh, the Head of Asia-Irbis Working Group (local NGO) during the snow leopard census in the Republic of Buryatia on the Eastern Sayan Ridge in 2018.
(с) Ivan Usanov The inspectors of Sailugemsky National Park making their way through the snow during the snow leopard census in the Republic of Altai.
(с) Danil Barashkov The experts of Asia-Irbis Working Group (local NGO) during the snow leopard census in the Republic of Buryatia on the Eastern Sayan Ridge in 2018.
(с) Danil Barashkov The snow leopard habitats in the Republic of Buryatia.
(с) Danil Barashkov The print of the snow leopard paw discovered on the Eastern Sayan ridge in the Republic of Buryatia in 2018.
(с) Аlexey Kuzhlekov The scratch of the snow leopard on the larch discovered in the Republic of Altai during snow leopard census.
(с) Ivan Usanov The inspectors of Sailugemsky National Park making their way through the snow during the snow leopard census in the Republic of Altai.
(с) Ivan Usanov The inspectors of Sailugemsky National Park during the snow leopard census in the Republic of Altai, 2018.
(с) Alexander Lotov Sergey Spitsyn, WWF expert, senior scientist of Altaisky Nature Reserve moving stones to fix the automatic camera during the snow leopard census of the Republic of Altai.
Wide-scale snow leopard census started in Russia in 2015
(c) WWF / Asia-Irbis Working Group / I. Usanov / D. Barashkov / A. Kuzhlekov

The first group of experts set up for field monitoring while the temperatures in Russian Altai dropped down to -30 degrees centigrade. The series of expeditions will be implemented till the end of April by protected areas’ staff and conservation NGO.  The final results will be obtained in May after the expert have analyzed all data collected.

Snow Leopard Conservation Strategy in the Russian Federation was officially approved by Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation in 2002, updated in 2015. Today all key snow leopard conservation activities in Russia is initiated and supported by WWF Russia. WWF unites and directs the efforts protected areas, local NGOs and corporate onors in partnership with authorities to secure the stable snow leopard population in key habitats. 

The snow leopard census in the Republic of Buryatia

For additional information please contact
Altai-Sayan ecoregional press-officer
Senior Project Coordinator