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Fifteen snow leopards will be protected by local people in Altai

21 april 2020
Villagers of the remote corners of the Republic of Altai patrol the snow leopard habitats helping conservationists

In 2020 the joint conservation project of WWF Russia and Pernod Ricard in the Republic of Altai will expand the area of the snow leopard habitats patrolled by local villagers of Kosh-Agachsky district. Sailugemsky national park is the main partner of the project in Altai. National parks’ employers work together with local people to protect the snow leopard in the region, collect the data on wildlife crimes. 

“We are very proud of the 5-year-long partnership with WWF Russia and we greet every new whirl of our joint project. Expending the area of snow leopard habitats patrolled by local villagers is a good news. It proves that both business and every single man can both contributed a lot to nature conservation”, says Renata Gapenkova, Sustanable Development Manager of Pernod Ricard Rouss.

Since 2017 the local people who live in the villages of the remote district of the Republic of Altai in snow leopard habitat have been helping the rangers and scientists to study and protect the snow leopard. They set the camera traps, patrol the individual area, report of wildlife crimes and receive the award for their duty. The images of the snow leopards captured by camera traps are the proves that the snow leopards in the area are safe and sound and have not been poached out by locals. Some villagers participate in snow leopard monitoring expeditions along with the professional scientists and inspectors as they know the area very well ad help with spotting the signs of snow leopard presence. 

The local people of the Republic of Altai during the snow leopard census in Sailugemsky national park in 2020.
(c) Denis Gulyaev and camera traps' images
“This year we plan to expand the area patrolled by local people by 40 000 hectares. Thanks to the partnership with local people Salugemsky national park receives the data on snow leopard condition and distribution in the territory adjacent to the boundaries of the national park that we have no official right to patrol but which are important to have the whole picture. The information on wildlife crimes reported to us by local people is very important. It saves resources of the national park and helps allocate them efficiently. However, the main goal of the project remains changing the attitude of the local people towards the snow leopard to more positive”, says Denis Malikov, Director of Sailugemsky national park.

Today the total area of snow leopard habitat under protection of local people who live in Dzhazator, Argut, Kosh-Agach and Kurai villages amounts up to half a million hectares. Fifteen snow leopards on an average are registered on this territory. Some of the individuals have been studied by scientists for years. They have names, the stories of their marriages and cubs, relations and interactions have been registered by camera traps. 

Snow leopards of Mountainous Altai under protection of local people.
(c) WWF / Sailugemsky national park
“Not all images are good for snow leopard identifications. We receive a lot of dark and not clear pictures as the snow leopard is a nocturnal animal and many pictures are captured at night. We often can’t identify what individual has been registered by a camera trap but some of the snow leopards we know by their names. These are Yuta (former Yu-1) female snow leopard and her cubs, one of whom the cameras register quite often but the track of another was lost. There is Yunchi male snow leopard and the others”, says Alexander Karnaukhov, Senior Coordinator of WWF Altai-Sayan branch.

A SNOW LEOPARD OF THE ARGUT RIVER VALLEY © SAILUGEMSKY NATIONAL PARK

In 2019 Mergen Markov, one the project participant, the dweller of Argut village, was awarded by the title of “Pride of Russia” within the frames of the project that tells about “the ordinary people of Russia that are do what the country is proud of”. 

For additional information please contact
Senior Project сoordinator