Sayano-Shushensky Reserve worker speaks on snow leopard study

29 October 2020

During a live broadcast on the Lab of Travelling online channel, Roman Afanasyev, a researcher at the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve spoke about snow leopards and the history of studying this rare representative of the feline family at the Sayano-Shushensky Reserve.


For the first time, traces of the snow leopard were found at the reserve in 1978 by zoologist Boris Zavatsky, and then the study of this predator began in the protected area. The snow leopard is a very secretive and cautious animal that lives in hard-to-reach places. The leopard is active mainly at twilight, which makes it difficult to observe this creature in its natural habitat. The animal’s colour also complicates the job, disguising the snow leopard and allowing it to remain invisible among mountain peaks. Therefore, automatic camera traps, which have been used at the Sayano-Shushensky Reserve since 2007, are of great importance in the study and conservation of the snow leopard.


In 2008, the first photographs of the snow leopard were taken at the reserve with the help of a camera trap. These were the first shots of the snow leopard in its natural habitat taken in Russia. Based on images from camera traps, researchers track the movement of animals and their number, and also study the features of the ecology and biology of the species.