Researchers to continue studying wild cats of South Siberia

Researchers to continue studying wild cats of South Siberia

23 May 2012

A project for the study and conservation of rare species of South Siberian cats – the snow leopard, manul, and lynx – has been launched in Sayano-Shushensky State Nature Reserve, the Ubsunur Hollow Biosphere Preserve, the Khakassky Reserve, and the Pozarym State Reserve.


The new project, named Wild Cats of South Siberia, aims to study the animals' eating habits, monitor its food stock, and conduct zoological and veterinarian examinations of natural populations of wild cats. Another aim is to educate Russian citizens on the importance of preserving endangered species.


On May 15, 2012, the Russian Geographical Society and the Sayano-Shushensky State Nature Reserve signed an agreement on funding research under the Wild Cats of South Siberia project, worth 5.5 million roubles. Work has already commenced. The first tranche of funding was received and field expeditions have been organised at the Sayano-Shushensky and Pozarym reserves. Researchers plan to purchase modern recording and monitoring equipment, tracking and communication systems, as well as field equipment and means of transportation. This will make it easier to study the geographic distribution of populations and help detect their migration paths and dens.


The Wild Cats of South Siberia project will run until June 1, 2013.


In 2010, the Snow Leopard programme was launched in South Siberia. The programme is being implemented along with other projects to study the animals included in the Russian Red Data Book, as well as such endangered species as the Amur (Siberian) tiger, the beluga or white whale, and the polar bear. In 2011, the Russian Geographical Society (RGS) provided a grant for the project, Following the Snow Leopard's Tracks, implemented by the Khakassky Reserve together with the specially protected natural areas of South Siberia. This year, the research programme has been expanded. The new project, Wild Cats of South Siberia, run by the RGS, will build on the research done in recent years, in cooperation with the same environmental organisations.