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Премия рунета 2017

Guta snow leopard is back from Mongolia, Khorgai, the oldest snow leopard in Altai, is safe and sound

20 september 2018
5 snow leopards are registered in the transboundary zone of Russia and Mongolia in Russian Altai on the Chikhacheva Ridge
This year WWF Russia started first monitoring of snow leopard  in the transboundary area of Russia and Mongolia on three ridges. Combined with the information of the first mongolian wide-scale census the results will provide for the clear information on the clear list of animals that migrate across the border and can be registrated twice by neighbouring countries. The monitoring area lies in the Rebublics of Tyva, Altai and Buryatia on the Chikhacheva ridge, Tsagaan-Shibetu ridge and Eastern Sayan Ridge.
First results prove that 5 snow leopards are registered in Russian Altai on the Chikhacheva Ridge. Among them Guta, the well-known female, and Khorgai, the oldest known Russian snow leopard. He is about 10 years old. The expedition took part from August, 30 till September, 15 with support of Altai-Sayan Programme of WWF and World Around You Foundation of Siberian Wellness International Company.

Khorgai was last registered in spring of 2018 on the Chikhacheva ridge but before he had not been registered for a long time and the experts were afraid the male could not have been able to survive through severe winter of 2018. Here we are – the new images of June and Khorgai is safe and sound. Guta, a well-known by Russian zoologist snow leopard female, Chikhacheva ridge resident was captured by camera as well. Before 2018 Guta as well as Khorgai had not been registered for a long time, since 2016 when she was captured pregnent. She obviously was in Mongolia and might have even gave birth and raised her cubs their and later came back to Russia. The characteristic trait of Guta is her broken tail. She is clearly recognizable by the tracks on the snow that her broken tail leaves. During this field season the cameras also captured a new young snow leopard male never seen by the experts before.   


Guta, Khorgai and a new snow leopard
(c) WWF / Sergey Spitsyn / Altaisky Nature Reserve
All snow leopards at the border of Russia and Mongolia is the common treasure of both countries. The animals constantly migrate from one territory to another, moreover the future of the snow leopard in Russia to a very much extent depends on the snow leopards from neighboring Mongolia. Only having united the efforts of two countries we can save the snow leopards together, says Alexander Karnaukhov, WWF Altai-Sayan Programme Senior Coordinator.

Khorgai returned in spring of 2018

Russian and Mongolian experts have been working since spring to identify the number of the snow leopards in the transboundary are of two countries. Mongolia this year is having the first national wide-scale census of a rare predator. WWF-Mongolia along with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Mongolia bring governmental and national non-government organizations and researchers to assess the snow leopard population in Mongolia. All experts work using the same snow leopard monitoring methodology proposed by WWF Russia in 2017. The methodology was developed by WWF Russia experts in partnership with the University of New York and Snow Leopard Conservancy. 

Guta in 2015

Monitoring of the snow leopard on the Chikhacheva is special in Russia as this is the only habitat where the experts are assisted by a volunteer group of people that call their team “Tracking Snow Leopard Expedition”. Headed by Igor Pautov, a business from Novosibirsk, a big city of Siberia, the group of people from different parts of Russia every year come to Altai to assist the expert in research and conservation. At their own expanse the volunteers buy cameras, pay for food and travel fees and walk the same mountain paths that the snow leopards and the expert walk to monitor the rare predator.

Guided by Sergey Spitsyn, WWF expert and one of the best snow leopard expert in Russia, the scientist of Altaisky Nature Reserve, the team help save the precious resources and time of the conservationists later contributing a lot to awareness raising by making video and photo content, exhibition and press-conferences on the results of the research. 

This year the situation on the Chikhacheva ridge warned us, says Sergey Spitsyn, the head of the expedition. We hardly met any Palas cats or stone marten (Martes foina). We met no signs of wolverines however these animals bothered us in the last years preying on our cameras and breaking them. We can only presume whether the severe snow and cold winter was the reason for that. Or the predators could have been died after eating the poisoned rodents such as marmots or gophers due to the antiplaque procedures implemented in the area.
For additional information please contact
Altai-Sayan ecoregional press-officer
Senior Project Coordinator