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Ukok Nature Park had an off-road vehicle as WWF present

28 february 2018
A new vehicle will provide for better and longer raids for snow leopard conservation

WWF Altai-Sayan Programme experts had an official ceremony of delivering the new UAZ off-road car to Leonard Takhanov, the Director of Zona Pokoya Ukok Nature Park in the Republic of Altai. The car is equipped with additional motor cable winch, an automatic locking rear differential, rooftop cargo carrier and the additional set of off-road tires. After all legal procedures are finished the car will be ready for field trips. The first antipoaching raid is planned for the beginning of March to the Karagem place to monitor the snow leopard and its prey within the wide-sale snow leopard census.

The money to purchase the car and support the additional antipoaching raids in Ukok Nature Park were donated by WWF Russia supporters after the call for action to save the snow leopard in Ukok. 

It was clear that we needed urgent measures to provide the park’s rangers with necessary equipment and capacity. Having discussed the best option we made a decision to appeal to our supporters to donate for purchasing the off-road vehicle for a harsh area of Ukok and additional petrol for raids. The supporters donated about 1 mln roubles so the nature park will receive an off-road vehicle, says Alexander Karnaukhov, WWF Altai-Sayan Programme Senior Coordinator.

The story of the present goes back to summer of 2017 when WWF Altai-Sayan Programme experts in partnership with Sailugemsky National Park and Zona Pokoya Ukok Nature Park had first ever camera trapping on Ukok Plateau. The goal of the expedition was to find the evidence of the snow leopard presence on Ukok Plateau as no any cameras had ever been set in the area before. The monitoring was supported by M-Video, WWF Russia long-term corporate partner. Last year in August the experts set 10 cameras along Russian-Mongolian and Russian-Chinese borders. In September one of the cameras registered a female snow leopard with two cubs. She got the name Yuzahnka (Sothern).

In 2017 and 2018 WWF also provided the Zona Pokoya Ukok Nature Park with 10 camera traps, field uniform, navigator, notebook and camera within the joint project with VTB-bank on conservation of big cats in Russia. 

Yuzhanka (Southern) female snow leopard captured by cameras on the Ukok Plateau in 2017.
The first cub of Yuzhanka snow leopard.
The second cub of Yuzhanka.
The rangers of Sailugemsky National Park during the camera trapping in autumn of 2017.
In 2017 cameratraps captured the snow leopard in the Ukok Plateau for the first time
(c) WWF, Sailugemsky National Park, Zona pokoya Ukok Nature Park
I’m grateful to WWF and the ordinary people, our supporters and donors for a new vehicle and the petrol for raids that we needed so badly. The car is planned to be field tested very soon during snow leopard monitoring expedition, says Leonard Takhanov, Zona Pokoya Ukok Nature Park Director. We will improve snow leopard conservation through better and more often patrolling. We’ll be able to cover not only the Parks’ area but the neighboring territories such as the Chikhacheva Ridge where snow leopard live but not protected as no any protected areas is established here. Apart from Park rangers we plan to involve local people into conservation expeditions and patrolling to raise their will for conservation.

Zona Pokoya Ukok Nature Park, a protected are of regional subordinate, was established in 2005 in Kosh-Agach District of the Republic of Altai at the junction of the borders of Russia, China and Mongolia.  A big part of the lies within the boundaries of the UNESCO Nature Heritage Object, the Golden Mountains of Altai.  

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Senior Project сoordinator