WWF supports anti-poaching activities in Altai
Altai and Tuva Republics are two key areas of snow leopard and Altai argali distribution in Russia. These Republics are known for intensive poaching mostly caused by poverty of local people. WWF still finds it reasonable to support anti-poaching activities in Altai and Tuva because local enforcement departments still lack necessary staff, resources and equipment.
In January-March WWF special attention was given to patrol groups guarding Sailugem Range in Republic of Altai near Russia – Mongolia border where Sailugemskiy National Park was established in 2010. The park still has now staff and funding from Russian government and its territory is protected only by inspectors of Game Committee. This area is of great importance for argali conservation in transboundary zone of Russia and Mongolia and regularly visited by antipoaching brigades supported by WWF. This winter no cases of argali poaching was detected in Sailugem range. Low snow and rather mild winter were comfortable for Altai argali and resulted in better survival of these endangered wild sheep.
Some patrolling was done in the places of winter concentrations of roe deer and elk. These areas are usually visited by poachers at night to hunt with a help of a torch-lamp. It is rather easy to shoot an animal blinded by the ray of strong light. In a place where hunting is completely prohibited the poachers hunting roe deer were arrested by patrol group.
Totally in January-March 36 violations of the low were discovered by patrol groups supported by WWF in snow leopards and argali habitats in Altai, 11 firearms were confiscated, three criminal cases were proceeded.