Who will protect the snow leopard?
The first meeting of the representatives of WWF Russia Altai-Sayan project, UNDP/GEF project and the “Ubsunurskaya lowland” Nature Reserve with the Mongun-Taiga district governance was held in Kyzyl (Republic of Tuva) in June. The main question discussed in the meeting was the complex of necessary measures on protection the livestock from the predator’s attacks. Also the necessity of livestock insurance from different incidents was discussed.
Few years ago – from 2000 till 2002 – WWF Russia in consort with the insurance company “RESO-Guarantee” realized the insurance schemes in Tyva. It was necessary because the local herders often killed the snow leopards which attacked their livestock. Within the insurance scheme the herders got a compensation for the killed sheeps provided that the snow leopard is alive. But then there were many problems such as deficiently immediate reactions on the attack cases, complicated system of payments, sophistication of attacks, low level of awareness among local people etc. The program was recognized inefficient. But today people of Mongun-Taiga and the local governance uniquely speak for the renewal of the livestock insurance schemes.
The participants of the meeting agreed to organize a workshop for people of Mongun-Taiga and Bai-Taiga districts where the herders can favor their needs and discuss the ways of cooperation.
- The south-western Tuva is a habitat for one of the key snow leopards groups. There are no more than 150 species of this beautiful cat in Russia, - says Chaizu Kyrgys, WWF Russia Altai-Sayan project leader. – But it is here where the threats for the snow leopards life are intense: from the poaching with the purpose to sell the skin and the catching of irbis’s cubs for further sale to the shoot-off with the purpose to protect the livestock from the attacks. That’s why it is important for us to launch here the program of “bringing together” the local communities and this majestic and rare cat.