Snow leopard count begins in Altai Republic

Snow leopard count begins in Altai Republic

13 January 2017

In winter 2017, a comprehensive count of the snow leopard population and the animals it feeds on will be held in Altai. Experts reached an agreement to this effect at a kickoff meeting in Gorno-Altaisk on 12 January. The event gathered experts from Sailyugem National Park and the Altaisky and Katunsky biosphere reserves, as well as top managers of the specially protected areas of the Republic of Altai and the WWF.


This will be the second regional snow leopard count in Altai. The first trial count took place in 2016 when the local snow leopard population totalled 40 animals.


During the meeting, experts discussed field work methods and the difficulties they involved last year. The participants agreed on an overall calendar plan for the count and also outlined the counting sectors. In January-March, 10 field expeditions will be organised at all the major habitat areas of the snow leopard. These will involve 30 experts from the specially protected areas.


The count will allow experts to define the boundaries within which the snow leopard resides, determine its population, and also identify threats to its population in Altai. Experts will also count hoofed mammals, the snow leopard’s main prey.


In 2017, the count will be organised in the key areas inhabited by the snow leopard. For this purpose, all the regional specially protected areas will join efforts, including Sailyugem National Park, the Altaisky and Katunsky biosphere reserves, the Ak-Cholushpa, Belukha and Ukok Quiet Zone nature parks, along with local non-profit organisations – the Altai Argali regional public organisation and the Altai-Sayan mountain partnership.