How WWF individual members help to fight against poachers and study the snow leopards
For several years the Altai-Sayan office of WWF Russia has been working on snow leopard protection and restoration in the Argut River Valley in the Mountain Altai. Today the scientists think that at least 5-8 snow leopards live here, but once this snow leopard population was the biggest in Russia, about 30-40 individuals. That's why the main goals for the conservationists are the fight with snare poaching that threatens the whole population and the monitoring of the last irbises in Argut. And the help from the WWF Russia individual members is highly appreciated.
In 2013 Nikolai Kormilitsyn, the Golden Panda Club member, made a kind donation for the snow leopard restoration project. This money were spent to buy the snow tires, frontal protection system and warm tent for the special group on snow leopard protection based on the regional NGO “Arkhar”. The new equipment allowed the specialists to strengthen their fight against poaching in Altai as well as to conduct several monitoring expeditions.
In January-March 2013 the altai group inspected the upper part of the Argut River Valley with the aim to estimate the local population of snow leopards and to remove snares. They managed to find some fresh traces of a female snow leopard. Also the camera traps examination showed that already known irbises Vita and Kryuk were alive and felt good. Close to the Vita and Kryuk's areals another female snow leopard with 2 cubs lives. And in May 2013 new photos of an unknown snow leopard were done by the camera trap. All this brings hope for the successful restoration of the local snow leopard population.
The support of the snow leopard restoration project also allowed to conduct regular raids on snare poaching removement which resulted in the decrease of snares on 75-80% in comparison to the year 2010.