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Премия рунета 2017

France Television walked along snow leopards trails in Russia

05 february 2019
The journalists checked the camera traps along with the local hunters, the participants of WWF project on involving local people into snow leopard conservation

Three brave journalists of France Television France 2 visited Russia, the Southern Siberia in January, 2019. Shooting at – 40 Degrees Celsius, driving the mountain roads for hours and riding horses to one of the remote areas of Russia was quite a challenge but the journalists were eager to cover the unique project of WWF and French company Pernod Ricard Rouss on involving of local people into snow leopard conservation.

The press-tour was assisted by WWF and the experts of Sailugemsky National Park, the key partner of WWF in the Republic of Altai, the project coordinator.

The main character of the story was Mergen Markov, the local hunter who live in the remote village in the mountain right in the heart of the snow leopard land of the Republic of Altai, Russia. Along with five other local people Mergen is a member of the conservation project to involve the local people into snow leopard conservation. Each hunter has his own area to patrol, set camera traps and report wildlife crimes where two or three snow leopard roam. If the animals are still registered by cameras and alive by the end of the year, the hunters get additional awards. WWF hopes that gradually the hunters change their attitude towards snow leopard and feel different about the need for conservation.

France Television on Altai
(c) WWF / Sergey Verkhovec / Dominique Derda
“I was inspired and surprised at the enthusiasm of Mergen. We understand that snow leopard conservation is the source of living for him and his family but it is clear that Mergen feels passion for saving the species and sort of the obligation. He wants to do good and he is right. That is why the snow leopard conservation project of WWF Russia and Pernod Ricard Rouss will be successful”, says Dominik Derda, Correspondent, the Head of Moscow Branch of FRANCE 2.

Apart from Mergen, the hunter, the other key players shot by France Television were the members of the public antipoaching brigade. The volunteer group of those who sacrifice their free time and resources to partrolling the area in partbersgip with official rangers to report on wildlife crime and raise awareness of local people who live in snow leopard habitats. The brigade has been receiving WWF and Pernod Ricard nspection (briКроме Мергена Маркова на кадрах — члены общественной антибраконьерской бригады Кош-Агачского района, которые также получают поддержку WWF и компании Pernod Ricard Rouss. Эта группа волонтеров из числа местных жителей, которым не безразлична судьба родной земли, они готовы выделять время и ресурсы для патрулирования территории. У добровольцев нет полномочий, но они сообщают о встреченных нарушениях, находках и стараются пресекать нарушения, разъясняя местных жителям правила поведения. 

Crossing the rivers to get to the snow leopard habitats

“It is our first trip to Altai and were are amazed at the beauty and cruelty of winter landscapes. To get to the Argut river valley where the hunters live we had to drive and them ride horses for many hours. I adore the local people who manage to survive in the hard conditions of the remote upland Altai villages. Our spectators are found of conservation issues but the stories of the local people are also fascinating. I would get back here again”, says Dominik Derda, Correspondent, the Head of Moscow Branch of FRANCE 2.

For additional information please contact
Head of the Altai-Sayan Ecoregional Office
Altai-Sayan ecoregional press-officer