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Премия рунета 2017

Snow leopard uses the Shapshal Ridge in Russia only as a migration corridor and does not stay here

21 august 2017
The expedition revealed the low number of prey and new tracks of poachers and horse thieves along the Shapshal Ridge.

Field survey on Shapshal Ridge took place from July, 17 till August, 5. The rangers of Altaisky Biosphere Nature Reserve supported by WWF and “World Around You” Foundation of Siberian Health Corporation, WWF Russia corporate partner, searched through the Shapshal Ridge to track the snow leopard. It’s been the first serious survey since 2005.

It's the first serious survey of snow leopard habitat on the Shapshal Ridge insince 2005
(c) S. Spitsyn, Altaisky Nature Reserve
As we expected before the area of the Shapshal Ridge serves only as the migratory corridor for a snow leopard. There is not enough prey and the conditions are not favorable, says Alexander Karnaukhov, WWF Altai-Sayan Programme Senior Coordinator.

The expedition participants made a survey along the western slope of the Shapshal Ridge. WWF expected that snow leopard might inhabit this area if not constantly then during summer time because a viable group of snow leopard inhabits the neighboring Tsagaan-Shibetu Ridge in Republic of Tyva.  

The experts found snow leopard scratch in the southern part of the Shapshal Ridge and the tracks of a young snow leopard on clay surface. The camera traps were set in the most favorable places, they will be checked again in September or October. 

The camera traps were set inthe most favourable spots
(c) S. Spitsyn, Altaisky Nature Reserve
We discovered the new horses tracks of the poachers that have never been seen before. These are the roads used by poachers and horse thieves. You can hardly see the tracks on the stones so the poachers mark the route with some pyramids made from stones. We mapped the routes discovered and will pass the information to the patrol groups of Altaisky Nature Reserve, says Sergey Spitsyn, WWF experts, the ranger of Altaisky Nature Reserve.

To get to the Shapshal Ridge the expedition participants had to drive to the boggy area and then change the transport and ride horses or walk. There are areas on the Shapshal Ridge that can hardly be passed even by the alpinists and the experts had hard time moving along and high up the ridge.

During the expedition to Shapshal the experts also tested the new snow leopard monitoring programme developed by WWF Russia in partnership with American colleagues this year. After the field approbation of the programme WWF Russia’s experts plan to introduce the porgramme for all the countries in snow leopard range in the world. It will help to have the same and reliable data as the methods of field survey and data processing will be unified. 

The rangers discovered the trails used by poachers
(c) S. Spitsyn, Altaisky Nature Reserve
Snow leopard conservation experts do hard job to save one of the most elusive big cats on Earth. We live in the cities far from the mountains and wildlife but we should not be careless and contribute to nature conservation It is not hard and anyone can do as much as one can. We call everyone to help save snow leopards. The partners of Siberian Health Corporation have been donating призываем каждого желающего внестfor several years. Please, join us!, says Galina Mizinina, the business partner of Siberian Health Corporation. World Around You Foundation has donated 500 000 mln roubles to snow leopard conservation for the last 6 years.
For additional information please contact
Altai-Sayan ecoregional press-officer
Senior Project Coordinator