Russia approved the Snow Leopard Conservation Strategy
In order to achieve positive results the new strategy will help to coordinate efforts of all regions, ecologists, scientists, institutions, protected areas, hunting areas in the next ten years.
Previous strategy was based on very limited data about the snow leopard. The population number of this species was estimated as 150-200 individuals according to the document from2002 year. But further monitoring and research show that real number is at least two times less , about 70-90 individuals.
«Conservation of viable groups of snow leopard is directly connected with conservation of mountain-steppe and mountain-tundra landscapes,- says coordinator of species protection projects WWF-Russia Natalia Dronova. – Therefore the strategy supposes extinction and design of new protected areas in the snow leopard habitat». There is a recommendation to enlarge the square of “Uvsunurskaya kotlovina” and “Sayano-Shusenskyi” reserves in this document and also to create three new natural parks in Tyva.
Experts say that total population of the snow leopard in the world is between 3, 5 and 7.5 thousands individuals. These wild cats live in the 12 countries of the world: Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In Russia the snow leopard habitats are in the mounting regions of Altai, Tuva, Buryatia Republics and the south part of Krasnoyarsk kray.
The main threat in Russia for this species today is poaching. Especially snaring - the most barbarian way of poaching: illegal way of hunting with snare (metal loop). Basically poachers set them for musk deer but other species including the snow leopard are got trapped.
Realization of the previous strategy (2002-2011) helped to conduct the irbis monitoring using camera traps and DNA analysis, to activate the fight against poachers. New protected areas were designed: “Sailugemskyi” national park, natural parks: “Ukok”, Ak-Cholushpa”, “Shuiskyi” and federal sanctuary “Pozarym”.
New programs on local business development started. Mostly it concerns ecological and rural tourism as an alternative livelihood for local population living in the snow leopard habitat. These initiatives provided a strong contribution to the further project development.