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Премия рунета 2017

WWF Russia presented mobile application for counting the snow leopard to the colleagues in India

21 october 2019
WWF Russia shared with colleagues the innovative method for snow leopard monitoring that is successfully developed and widely used in Russia

 From 17 to 19 October, 2019 WWF India held a workshop on applying a new method of snow leopard monitoring. The workshop was attended by WWF India, Forest Department of Sikkim, and Kanchendzonga Conservation Committee.

Alexander Karnaukhov, Senior Coordinator of Altai-Sayan Programme of WWF Russia was the key lecturer and presenter at the workshop. He shared with the colleagues the details of the mobile application for snow leopard monitoring called NextGIS Collector, a new and innovative tool developed by WWF Russia in partnership with Moscow IT-company NextGIS. India is the forth country interested in applying the mobile application developed by WWF Russia after Mongolia, Kyrgystan and Tajikistan.  

The application was developed in 2018 and first successfully tested in Russia in 2019 during the snow leopard monitoring. It is a new modern step in species monitoring. The digital forms for biologists and rangers who collect the data in the field are simple and easy to fill. The people can record all information just by tapping the screen, all data is automatically uploaded from each smartphone as soon as the phone has internet connection. The digital map (project) on the web-GIS provides for the clear visualization of all tracks, routes and spots to see and easy analyze the collected information. It provides for more accurate and quick data analyzes.

On-door and field training in India
(c) WWF / Alexander Karnaukhov
“WWF Russia is eager to share our successful experience of snow leopard monitoring with the colleagues from India. India is one the countries with cutting edge snow leopard research and ambitious plans to estimate snow leopard numbers. The mobile application based approach can provide an immense boost to conservation efforts. At the workshop the rangers and scientists asked profound and difficult questions and it is clear that the people are very passionate and motivated by what they do. We have the plans for taking this collaboration further and make the use of this application even more easier and practical as well all provide necessary support to other range countries interested in using this technology”, says Alexander Karnaukhov, Senior Coordinator of Altai-Sayan programme of WWF Russia.

Right at the workshop having received the key information and details about the application the experts from India and Russia developed an English version which was applicable for India. New species and some peculiar local landscape details have been included in the applications digital forms. Russian IT-company experts managed to develop the English version of the application urgently.

“As WWF offices in several range countries are increasingly conducting large scale snow leopard population assessments, many of them at national level, this tool developed and field tested by our teams in Russia can be a boom for simplifying the field data collection and ensuring accuracy of data. We expect robust estimates of snow leopard population size to increase the effectiveness of our conservation actions that aim to Address major threats to snow leopards and their unique habitat across their range”, says Rishi Kumar Sharma, Leader of Snow Leopard Program of WWF-International.
Alexander Karnaukhov, WWF Altai-Sayan Programme Senior Coordinator
(c) WWF India
The workshop participants first tested the new application in-doors, learned to fill the digital forms, register their route using built-in tacker. Next day all attendants had a field training to collect the data. Working with digital maps and uploading all field data into the web-server and web-GIS system was the essential part of the training.
The snow leopard remains one of the most poorly studied big cats on Earth. WWF states that less than 5% of all snow leopard range in the world is studied for rigorous estimation of snow leopard population and there are just about 4000 snow leopard left in the wild. The unified and comparable programme of snow leopard monitoring is the challenge for all snow leopard range countries. 
The agreed action to “Evaluate and map the current status of key snow leopard populations and habitats to set baselines and indicators against which to assess future change, conduct economic valuation of snow leopard habitats, and intensify scientific research and monitoring to support future policy and action” is stated in  Bishkek Declaration on the Conservation of the Snow Leopard of 2013. It is the key document of Global Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Protection Program signed by all 12 countries that share the world snow leopard habitat.
For additional information please contact
Altai-Sayan ecoregional press-officer
Senior Project Coordinator