Snow leopards Vita and Kryuk are doing well
The expedition participants also managed to find tracks of a female snow leopard with cubs.
Today on of the main objectives of WWF in the Altai Mountains is to restore Argut snow leopard population, formerly the largest snow leopard population in Russia. To make it possible WWF experts verify and map locations of last snow leopards in Argut River Watershed, remove poacher snares and involve local community in conservation of snow leopards. Vita and Kryuk along with other few snow leopards survived in Argut area are great hope for restoring this wild cat population in nearest 15-20 years. InJanuarythe members of the Altaiskiy Reserve and the “Arkhar” regional conservation organization with financial support from WWF conducted a month-long snow leopard expedition. One of the most important findings of the expedition was the discovery of tracks of the female snow leopard and her cubs. Another good finding is that the number of poacher snares considerably decreased in the snow leopard due to regular snare removal activities in upper part of Argut River Basin.
Last winter the scientists found here, in the Argut river valley, first snow leopard traces, and just few months later two snow leopards were “caught” by camera traps – they were named Vita and Kryck.
“The good news is that Vita and Kryck are alive. We haven’t seen them for a long time and we haven’t known anything about them since last June. We hoped for the best, but there were fears that the animals could become poachers’ kill. But the last expedition snowed that these cats are doing well. One of the photo cameras happened to be in the center of Kryck’s home range, and we have a lot of his photos. According to the photos, we can assume that one more snow leopard lives in the area occupied by Vita and Kruyk” — says Sergei Spitsyn, the Altaiskiy Reserve senior researcher.