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Премия рунета 2017

WWF released first ever captured pictures of snow leopard on Ukok Plateau

03 november 2017
First ever done camera-trapping of snow leopard on Ukok Plateau was successful. First pictures of snow leopard were captured in October. The images of a snow leopard female with two cubs are quite inspiring as it proves that Ukok Plateau is the habitat of snow leopard.
Female snow leopard and her cubs captured on Ukok Plateau.
(c) WWF / Sailugemsky National Park

Ukok Plateau became famous worldwide for the ancient mummy, Princess of Ukok, being excavated in Ukok in 1993. Ukok is a remote and pristine grasslands area located in the Altai Mountains region of Russia near the borders with China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. The plateau is recognized as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site entitled Golden Mountains of Altai.

The area was considered only a potential snow leopard habitat and no serious research has ever been done on Ukok. This year thanks to financial support from M.Video Company WWF Altai-Sayan Programme initiated first ever camera-trapping of snow leopard in Ukok Plateau. 

Alexander Karnaukhov, Senior Coordinator, WWF Altai-Sayan Programme said: “As an experienced expert I’ve been collecting the information about snow leopard tracks in came across in Ukok by local people and some researchers for years but did not expect the area to be an important snow leopard habitat. This August we set about 10 cameras at the spots where the snow leopard is likely to appear most of all. In October our experts came back to plateau to check the cameras. It was windy and the temperature got down to -30. To my own surprise one of the cameras captured a rare predator. Moreover it was a female with two cubs!”

Sailugemsky National Park became the key partner for WWF for snow leopard monitoring in Ukok Plateau. 

Rangers of Sailugemsky NP during field monitoring
(c) I. Usanov
Alexey Kuzhlekov, Sailugemsky National Park (Republic of Altai, Russia), said: “It is always very exciting to check the camera for the new pictures especially if it is a very new area. Capturing the female with two cubs was a success. It’s normal for a snow leopard to have two cubs, they are about half-a-year old”.
Rangers of Sailugemsky NP trying to het to camera.
(с) Ivan Usanov

No matter that Ukok Plateau is part of UNESCO World Heritage Site and Zona Pokoya Ukok Nature Park was established here the resources and capacities of the regional protected area are extremely limited. WWF plans to help the nature park with equipment and capacity building. 

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