New strategy for protecting snow leopards in Russia

New strategy for protecting snow leopards in Russia

1 July 2013

The Russian Ministry of Natural Resources, WWF Russia and the Severtsov Institute of Environment and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences have developed a new strategy for protecting snow leopards in Russia for 2012-2022. The draft document has been submitted for review by the Krasnoyarsk Territory, the republics of Altai, Tyva, Buryatia as well as regional departments of the Natural Resources Ministry. After the review period, the strategy will be finalized and approved by directive of the ministry.


The focus of the new strategy will be on:


  • Protecting stable snow leopard populations in the Altai Mountains (the Republic of Altai), the Republic of Tyva and southern Krasnoyarsk Territory; restoring a stable population of snow leopards in the valley of the Argut River (the Republic of Altai);
  • Developing border collaboration with Mongolia in areas populated by snow leopards;
  • Preserving the habitats of key snow leopard populations by designating them specially protected natural areas;
  • Optimizing natural resource use and bolstering environmental regulations of subsoil use in snow leopard habitats;
  • Improving local economies in an effort to protect snow leopards and their habitat;
  • Increasing liability (criminal and administrative) for poaching, possession and trafficking of snow leopards and their derivatives;
  • Improving measures against illegal trapping, poaching of snow leopards and other wild animals;
  • Increasing wild animal populations in areas populated by snow leopards;
  • Efficient observation of snow leopards;
  • Further monitoring of the distribution and population of snow leopards in Russia;
  • Implementation of new methods of population research.

The first strategy for snow leopard conservation in Russia was adopted in 2002. The strategy fuelled anti-poaching efforts aimed primarily at combating illegal trapping of snow leopards. Additionally, specially protected areas were established in the regions inhabited by the animal, such as Sailyugemsky national park, the Argut, Ukok Quiet Zone and Ak-Cholushpa parks in the Republic of Altai, the Shuisky park in the Republic of Tyva and the Pozarym nature reserve of federal importance in the Republic of Khakassia. Small business programs were implemented between 2002 and 2011 for the regions inhabited by snow leopards to create alternatives to poaching.


Russia and Mongolia have stepped up cooperation on studying and protecting trans-border snow leopard populations. As a result, key populations of snow leopards in Russia have been stabilized at 90 to 100 animals.