Russian-Mongolian summer ecological camp “Tyva – the land of snow leopard” was held in a homeland of graceful irbis and hardy yak
The main theme of the camp is to promote snow leopard conservation in Tyva Republic. Participation of kids and teacher from neighboring Mongolia where snow leopard also live contributes to this goal.
Eco-camp for tuvinian kids living in shepherd and cattle-breader’s families, families of hunters and even poachers aims to cultivate in young hearts a tolerant attitude to snow leopard, to give them awareness of importance and necessity to protect this rare cat. In this year the eco-camp was held in one of the most beautiful places of Tyva Republic – on the shores of crystal pure salt lake Ak-Khol’ in Mongun-Taiga disctrict. All participants also took part in the Festival “Snow Leopard Day” organized by “Ubsunurskaya kotlovina” and WWF in this spring, and 11 kids from Uvs-aymak (Mongolia) became the guests of the eco-camp.
The program of the eco-camp included presentations about the reserve, films about rare and endangered species, workshops, sport games, art performances and ecological quizzes and was fulfilled. Kids from Mongolia made a poster where they painted different threats to snow leopards, and the protection was presented as an umbrella which covers irbis from all miseries.
In the end of the eco-camp all participants were awarded with gold, silver and bronze medals portraying “spirit of the mountains” – many saw a parallel with Olympic Games in this. The undoubted leader of the eco-camp was team “Irbister” (Mongun-Taiga district of Tyva Republic) which took first place. The second place was taken by friendly and talented guests from Uvs-aimak (Mongolia), and the third one – by “Wild cats” team from Mugur-Aksy village.
Republic of Tyva today is the region where WWF experts see some snow leopard population development. But there are still a lot of threats to this rare animal – from poaching of ungulates (main irbis prey) to catching by illegal hunters for skin selling and killing in retaliation for cattle attacks (as cattle breeding is the main income for residents of remote high-mountain villages of Tyva).