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The new snow leopard conservation project launched in Altai-Sayan

03 august 2015
The largest corporate charity project initiated by WWF and the «The world around you» Foundation aimed to conserve the snow leopard’s habitat in Russia and Kazakhstan.

The project will help to create conditions for the sustainable conservation of the irbis groups in the Altai-Sayan ecoregion. The main idea is the implementation of practical conservation measures, monitoring and the local population involvement practices.  

Nowadays the population of this rare cat in Russia is about 50-70 individuals and the most of them concentrated in five key groups. The habitats of these groups are located in the republics of Altai, Tuva and Buryatia and in the south of the Krasnoyarsk krai. Unfortunately not all of these areas are included to the boarders of protected areas (PAs). Therefore this low numbers of snow leopards is really on the verge of survival.

«The main threat for the snow leopard in Russia is still poaching, especially snare poaching. Leopards are dying in the snares set for the musk deer, lynx, wolf, - said the head of the WWF’s office in Altai-Sayan region Natalia Trofimova. - The solvation of this and other problems can only be through an integrated approach that combines the anti-poaching work and involvement of local communities to the conservation and monitoring programmes».

The project brings together the various organizations for the snow leopard conservation in Altai Tuva, and Buryatia republics of Russian Federation as well as Eastern Kazakhstan. More than a ten of protected areas (PAs) and environmental NGOs will be involved in the implementation:

  • Altaiskiy Biosphere Reserve (Altai Republic);
  • Katunskiy Biosphere Reserve (Altai Republic);
  • The biosphere reserve «Uvs Nuur Basin» (Tuva Republic);
  • Caton-Karagayskiy National Park (Kazakhstan);
  • Saylyugemskiy National Park (Republic of Altai);
  • Tunkinskiy National Park (Republic of Buryatia);
  • Nature Park «Tyva» (Tuva Republic);
  • Nature Park «Belukha» (Altai Republic);
  • Regional public organization «Arkhar» (Altai Republic);
  • International public organization «Neosfera» (East Kazakhstan);
  • Non-commercial partnership «Altai-Sayan Mountain Partnership» (Altai Republic).

 Within the project framework coordinators are planning to organize different activities: more than 10 expeditions for the distribution and abundance study in different parts of the Altai-Sayan region: anti-poaching patrols in key habitat; work with locales in remote villages to involve them into nature conservation and production of a short film about this charismatic cat to raise the awareness of wider public.

Thanks to that project the experience of conservation activities that already traditional for Altai and Tuva Republics is going to be translated in Republic of Buryatia and the Eastern Kazakhstan, where at least two new snow leopards were caught into camera-trap recently.

«This is not a first project for the snow leopard conservation for us, but the first global project to be implemented jointly with the WWF. And we hope to have a great results because the main aim of ours charity foundation is to formulate principles of ecological culture in the public mind as well as to promote environmentally friendly technologies in 25 countries we’ve work - said the head of »The world around you« Foundation of »The Siberian Health« Corporation  Larisa Buyantueva. - We are not willing to sit and wait when these mysterious snow cats are dying!».

The snow leopard named «Hook», Argut river basin, 2012
© Sergei Spitsyn/ WWF Russia
Press-conference on the beginning of the project, Altai, august 2015
© Lubov Ivashkina / WWF Russia
Ranger with camera trap, Tuva Republic, 2013
© Anna Goreva / WWF Russia
For additional information please contact
Head of the Altai-Sayan Ecoregional Office