Irbis Brigade on guard of a snow leopard in Western Sayan with WWF support
Poachers' snares are especially dangerous for the leopards and many other animals. Snaring for musk deer and other species is very popular in Western Sayan including the territory of Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve the area with the only known population of snow leopard in Krasnoyarskiy Region estimated at 8-10 individuals. The only way to protect this population is regular patrolling of the area and removing dangerous snares.
Special anti-poaching brigade of Protected Areas called “Irbis” is traditionally supported by WWF to fight poaching in snow leopard habitats in Western Sayan mountains. Since 2009 this brigade and WWF has taken care of last snow leopard population in Krasnoyarskiy Region both capturing poachers and removing snares from the Sayano-Shushensky Nature Reserve, its buffer zone and adjacent cluster of Ubsunurskay Kotlovina Zapovednik.
In February and March Irbis Brigade patrolled the area of Khemchik Ridge at the border of Republic of Tuva and Krasnoyarskiy Region. The only poacher camp was found. Waiting in ambush near the camp did not bring results. No poachers appeared for 10 days, and the illegal camp was destroyed by Irbis inspectors. This year is the first time since 1990-s when no snares have been found in snow leopard habitats in Sayano-Shushensky Reserve. It is clear and obvious result of tough struggle of Irbis brigade for snow leopard survival in the Western Sayan which is possible due to WWF support.