About 3-6 snow leopards inhabit Eastern Kazakhstan
The scientists of Wildlife Without Borders Public Foundation (Kazakhstan) make these conclusions based on scientific research and information from the Katon-Karagay National Park in 2021-2022.
The field study of snow leopard in Eastern Kazakhstan in 2021-2022 work was supported by the WWF Russia and Pernod Ricard Kazakhstan. Expeditions to install and test camera traps and anti-poaching raids were carried out from February to May together with employees of the Katon-Karagay National Park, Archatinsky Forestry and the Department of Protection and Reproduction of Wildlife.
The participants of field survey claim that the snow leopard became cautious and tried to avoid close contact with camera traps. When an animal spotted cameras, he was squared and tried to hide and quickly leave the location of the camera traps.
Experts conclude that the habitats of snow leopards in the Katon-Karagai National Park are limited with habitats of its prey, the Siberian ibex. The traces of snow leopards are abandon in these areas, as well as images taken by camera-traps. Apart snow leopards, cameras captured mountain goats, musk deer, bears, lynxes and wolverines.
Last November, employees of the Wildlife Without Borders Public Foundation also surveyed the Saur Mountains, but did not find the presence of a snow leopard. Nevertheless, local residents tell about meetings with the snow leopard, which requires a separate check and verification.
In addition to scientific research, scientists also patrolled the habitats of the snow leopard in the Katon-Karagai National Park together with the staff of the national park, rangers and game managers of hunting grounds.
The scientists assure that today Katon-Karagay National Park is well protected. This will help restore the snow leopard population. Employees of the Wildlife Without Borders are studying the snow leopard in East Kazakhstan using modern research methods: visual observation through binoculars, registration of traces of vital and marking activity of the snow leopard (prey remains, excrement, urinary points, scratches on the ground and snow, scratches on trees and rocks, trail tracking, automatic cameras. Scientists work using a standardized snow leopard monitoring program developed at the initiative of the WWF Russia in 2018 and approved by the ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation.