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Snow sheep counting launched in Kamchatka
19 july 2021
The research is a part of WWF-Russia's grant for monitoring the snow sheep population within the boundaries of five nature conservation areas in the region
In June, scientists observed snow sheep in the South Kamchatka Nature Park along the six-kilometer shoreline of the Pacific Ocean. The observations were conducted from the water in order to minimize disturbance. Scientists recorded dates and places of encounters, as well as age and gender composition. There were 21 sheep registered.
Scientists emphasize that these are only preliminary results. An aerial survey of the same population will be conducted in July to provide more substantial data. Later this year, snow sheep population monitoring will be conducted in two more nature parks: "Nalychevo" and "Bystrinsky".
"In Kamchatka, the snow sheep population has been declining for several decades now. This decline is the result of unsustainable trophy hunting practices and poaching. Illegal and deleterious human activity threatens the existence of the snow sheep in the region. WWF-Russia supports both research and anti-poaching work within the boundaries of conservation areas," said Sergey Rafanov, the director of WWF-Russia's Kamchatka Office.
The snow sheep population decline is recorded on both hunting grounds and conservation areas. Scientists say that 50 years ago there were about 15,000 snow sheep in Kamchatka. It is estimated that only 3,000 of them are left in the region.
photo in the preview – © Mikhail Pal'tsyn / WWF-Russia
photo in the head – © Julia Kalinicheva / WWF-Russia