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For the first time, WWF establishes Tuva will be compensated for damage from snow leopard attacks on livestock

23 february 2022
In partnership with protected areas and the Ministry of Natural Resources WWF establishes the Livestock depredation by snow leopard is common for many parts of the predator’s habitat, and Tyva Republic, Russia, is no exception.
Livestock depredation by snow leopard is common for many parts of the predator’s habitat, and Tyva Republic, Russia, is no exception. At the initiative of WWF, the scheme to compensate the herders for livestock the is established in partnership with local communities, protected areas and the regional Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Agriculture. WWF experts claim, this scheme will help herders and the rare predator make peace.

Snow leopards and herders of Tyva: from enemies to friends. By D. Bekhteref. (Turn on English subtitles)

WWF starts the project to save snow leopards together with local herders in Tyva Republic, Russia. Today the region of Tyva has the largest amount of livestock in Altai-Sayan Ecoregion. Local people still live the lifestyle of nomads that their ancestors had long time ago. They still follow the traditional livelihood and keep traditional land to graze their livestock. Here high mountain pastures are located close to the habitats of the snow leopard, the species which WWF has been protecting for many years. Due to poaching and climate change, the number of prey for the snow leopard in the wild, wild ungulates, is declining. This forces hungry predators to attack livestock. WWF offers to help conserve the snow leopard and shepherds to become participants in the livestock compensation program,” says Alexander Karnaukhov, Senior Project Coordinator of the WWF Russia Representative Office in the Altai-Sayan Ecoregion.

The project is supported by the World Around You Foundation of the Siberian Wellness Corporation and supporters of WWF Russia.

The compensation scheme will be implemented as follows: the livestock breeder signs an agreement and undertakes not to kill or persecute the snow leopard in case a predator attacks livestock or it’s spotted near pastures and camps. In case of an attack by a snow leopard on livestock, the shepherd is obliged to photograph the killed animals and call the experts. The examination of the victims will be carried out by employees of the Tyva Natural Park and the Ubsunur Hollow Reserve, who will go to the scene and draw conclusions based on a visual inspection. If a snow leopard, and not a wolf, really attacked the livestoсk, the damage will be calculated, and as many heads of livestoсk will be returned to the shepherd as he lost.

“We can say that we offer local cattle breeders to feed the snow leopard. We explain to them that, unlike the wolf, the snow leopard is a rare and endangered animal, it needs protection and care. Living with it on the same land is a blessing and good luck. There is no need to worry about the fact that the snow leopard settled close, but you need to be proud that you live next to such a unique cat,” says Eduard Dongak, director of the Tyva Nature Park.
In 2017-2019, WWF, together with environmental organizations in Tuva, tried different ways to reduce the conflict between the snow leopard and herders.
(c) WWF / c. Kyrgyz / D. Bekhteref

Electric fences turned out to be too bulky and difficult to use by herders. In 2022, WWF will test a new scheme - compensation for losses from predator attacks, which is successfully used in other countries inhabited by a snow leopard.

In the Republic of Tyva, the project is being implemented by: the Ministry of Forestry and Nature Management, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the State Committee for the Protection of Wildlife of the Republic of Tyva, the State Budgetary Institution “Natural Park “Tyva”, the Federal State Budgetary Institution “State Natural Biosphere Reserve “Ubsunurskaya Kotlovina”, WWF Russia.

For additional information please contact
Senior Project сoordinator