© WWF Russia
Sailugemsky National Park at the Internationa Snow Leoaprd Meeting
© WWF Russia
Sailugemsky National Park at the Internationa Snow Leoaprd Meeting

More photos

The rangers of Tunkinsky National Park during snow leoaprd monitoring in 2017 The expeets from Mongloai disscussing new monitoring Programme A legendary snow leopard expert Rodney Jackson (the USA, Snow Leopard Conservancy), right and Mikhail Paltsyn, New York University, one of authors of a new Monitoring Programme

WWF proposes a new methodology for snow leopard monitoring

A new monitoring program for one of the most elusive big cats was presented at the first in Russia international meeting on snow leopard conservation in Altai-Sayan Ecoregion

Russia's first international meeting on  snow leopard conservation «Monitoring and conservation of the snow leopard in the Altai-Sayan ecoregion» was held in Republic of Altai on 290-23, May. The experts from Russia, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, USA, India and China participated in the meeting invited by WWF Russia in partnership with the Sailugemsky National Park. VTB-bank provided support to the meeting within the frames of the joint programme of WWF and VTB-bank on big cats conservation in Russia.

Sharing experience of the world most effective snow leopard experts, the discussion of the unified methodology for snow leopard monitoring, the presentation of a unique snow leopard online database of Altai-Sayan ecoregion were the main goals of the conference.

At the meeting, WWF experts summed up the results of the largest ever census of snow leopard and the Siberian mountain goat (the main snow leopard’s prey in Altai-Sayan), which took place in 2017 on the entire range of the rare predator in Russia on the initiative of WWF and with the support of VTB Bank. In general, the population remains stable.

«Unfortunately, today in Russia, snow leopard census is a costly and resource-demanding things. Expeditions are held in the harsh conditions of the highlands of snow leopard habitats, in winter and in summer. The work is complicated by the lack of a unified approach to fieldwork, population accounting, research. Teams of specialists often disagree in the methods of collecting and analyzing data from photo traps, etc. - says Alexander Karnaukhov, WWF Altai-Sayan Programme Species Coordinator. - At the meeting, WWF presented a new Programme for snow leopard monitoring, developed by specialists from the United States and Russia. The program involves careful selection of research areas, a special approach to camera installation (division into sectors, determination of the distance between cameras, etc.), and also introduces a computer analysis of the collected data».

Taking into account the recommendations made at the meeting by specialists from different countries of the snow leopard habitat, the program will be further developed and used by specialists from China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Russia – in Altai-Sayan Ecoregion This will allow obtaining reliable data and clearly analyzing them, which will become the basis for future environmental protection measures.

A unique online database on snow leopards identified by camera-trapping was presented at the meeting. This database is a real breakthrough for the snow leopard experts. The online system was prepared by WWF in partnership with Pernod Ricard Rouss and became the first database of this kind in Russia. The system stores information about all the snow leopards detected by camera-trapping and the pictures obtained during Altai-Sayan. Data will be added from Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan - the countries of the Altai-Sayan ecoregion. Only the registered experts are granted with the access to the system to protect the snow leopard habitats.  It is reliably protected from hacking. For today, despite the successes in preserving the snow leopard in Russia - the revival of the Argut group in the Republic of Altai, the stabilization of the snow leopard population, the involvement of former poachers in the conservation activities, the intensification of anti-poaching work, etc., there are many threats to the existence of snow leopards, the species remains of the most little-studied large cats.

In Russia, serious work to preserve the snow leopard began only in 2010. Until now it is impossible to determine the exact number of species, there are areas where the snow leopard is recorded, but has not been investigated - the Ukok Plateau, the Central Sayan Ridge, the Sangilen Ridge. The work on the snow leopard will continue in 2017 thanks to the support of VTB Bank. Substantial assistance to the work was rendered by the «World around You» Foundation of the Siberian Health Corporation, due to which it will be possible to provide specialists with resources for work, new automatic cameras.

For additional information please contact

Tatiana Ivanitskaya, Altai-Sayan Ecoregion press-officer,
tel: +7 (3912) 913-565, fax: +7 (3912) 900-402, e-mail
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tel: +7 (3912) 913-565, fax: +7 (3912) 900-402, e-mail
 

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