Natural Resources and Environment Ministry meeting focuses on snow leopard conservation

Natural Resources and Environment Ministry meeting focuses on snow leopard conservation

3 November 2016

On 3 November, a meeting of the consultative council of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment focused on a draft strategy of snow leopard conservation in Russia. Minister Sergei Donskoi reminded the meeting participants that a total count of snow leopards will be held in Russia in 2017 as part of the Year of the Environment.


Vsevolod Stepanitsky, deputy director of the ministry’s department of state environmental policy and regulation, said that poaching, including illegal snare hunting of wild animals, is still the most serious threat for snow leopards’ existence in Russia and other countries of their habitat. Their pelts are an object of illegal trafficking. At a rough estimate, about 10 snow leopards are killed by poachers each year, with one pelt costing from $500 to $10,000 on the black market, Mr Stepanitsky said.


Participants in the meeting praised an initiative by the Republic of Tatarstan to create a specialised centre for breeding snow leopards in captivity. They also outlined plans to step up anti-poaching efforts, improve the effectiveness of managing several federal specially protected areas in the snow leopard habitat, and develop cross-border cooperation with Mongolia in order to preserve bio-diversity, including by rescuing, rehabilitating and returning to the wild orphaned snow leopard cubs.


Following the meeting, the minister instructed relevant departments to work on establishing a centre in Kazan for the captive breeding of snow leopards, as well as a centre for the rehabilitation and reintroduction of snow leopards at the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve (Krasnoyarsk Territory) which can be used to rehabilitate orphaned snow leopard cubs rescued from the wild.