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Премия рунета 2017

The snow leopard crossed the border between Kazakhstan and Russia

29 november 2017
For the first time since 2015 WWF Russia tracked the footprints of a rare predator in Katon-Karagai National Park

At the end of November, 2017 the scientists of the Institute of Zoology of the State Committee of Science of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan came back from the expedition on snow leopard monitoring in Katon-Karagai National Park.

The results of the field survey were beyond any expectations. The scientists spotted the tracks of four individuals of snow leopard with a female and a cub among them in the Katon-Karagai NP. The researchers tracked the female’s way to find out that the mother and a cub came to Kazakhstan from Russia. 

The tracks of the snow leoaprd spotted by the scientists.
The Institute of Zoology of the State Committee of Science of the Ministry of Education and Science of the RK
Alexander Karnaukhov, Senior Coordinator, WWF Altai-Sayan Programme said: It is not a surprise for us that snow leopards roam across the countries’ borders. The mountain ridges of Eastern Kazakhstan are a part of the one ecosystem of Altai-Sayan Mountain Country divided by the boundaries of Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan. This ecoregion is called the Heart of Asia and it’s a home for such iconic species as snow leopard and Altai argali. They regular ‘illegally migrate” moving along the ridges as they want for hundreds of kilometers. For instance, we register how the snow leopards who inhabit the Russian part of the Chikhacheva range migrate to neighboring Mongolia in winter as there is less snow and it is easier to prey.

The expedition to Katon-Karagai NP was initiated and financed by WWF Altai-Sayan Programme with support of World Around You Foundation and Pernod Ricard Kazakhstan. It’s the first time since 2015 the snow leopards have been registered in the NP. Two years ago WWF activated snow leopard monitoring in Eastern Kazakhstan and about 5 snow leopards were spotted. A specific antipoaching and research team of inspectors was established and equipped in Katon-Karagai. Later due to the number of reasons that might have included the lack of proficiency of the partner organizations no snow leopards were found in 2017. 

Camera-trapping and snow leoapard tracking
The Institute of Zoology of the State Committee of Science of the Ministry of Education and Science of the RK

The expedition to Katon-Karagai NP was initiated and financed by WWF Altai-Sayan Programme with support of World Around You Foundation and Pernod Ricard Kazakhstan. It’s the first time since 2015 the snow leopards have been registered in the NP. Two years ago WWF activated snow leopard monitoring in Eastern Kazakhstan and about 5 snow leopards were spotted. A specific antipoaching and research team of inspectors was established and equipped in Katon-Karagai. Later due to the number of reasons that might have included the lack of proficiency of the partner organizations no snow leopards were found in 2017. 

The snow leoaprd habitats in Katon-Karagai NP
The Institute of Zoology of the State Committee of Science of the Ministry of Education and Science of the RK

This November the team of five researchers made its two-weeks-long expedition setting camera-traps and exploring all potential snow leopard habitats. The methodology had been thoroughly thought of before the start of the field work. The experts followed the standards of the new snow leopard monitoring programme developed by WWF Russia in 2017 in partnership with SLC and State University of New York. The weather was harsh, cold, snowy and windy during the expedition so the the team had to change the planned route. All set cameras will be checked in spring to clear out the situation with snow leopard in Katon-Karagai NP.

Katon-Karagai NP was established in Eastern Kazakhstan in 2001 with WWF support. This NP of 6,434 sq. km is the largest NP in Kazakhstan.  It is located in the Eastern Kazakhstan where snow leopard inhabits the rages of Southern Altai, Tarbagatai, Sarymsakty and Katunsky. 

For additional information please contact
Altai-Sayan ecoregional press-officer
Senior Project Coordinator