Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution scientists share 2020 snow leopard monitoring results

Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution scientists share 2020 snow leopard monitoring results

30 December 2020

The Russian Geographical Society (RGO) is actively involved in the conservation and recruitment of rare animals such as Amur tigers, Far Eastern leopards, Persian leopards, polar bears and plenty of others. Vyacheslav Rozhnov, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, and his deputy Sergei Naidenko spoke to the RGO about the animal’s leap year and how their lives changed in 2020.


The scientists consider that the state of the population of the snow leopard is stable.


“Snow leopards move from one area to another, which causes certain monitoring difficulties. The creature that we were monitoring and which trail cameras no longer show could have simply gone to a different area. But in general, the monitoring data from our habitat models indicates that the population of these predators is not in decline. We were particularly joyful to see that the cameras had captured a female with her cubs. Animals breed when they feel safe,” Vyacheslav Rozhnov explained.  


The efforts to restore the group of snow leopards at the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve continue and experts are seeking ways to come up with the most efficient solutions.


“It is very upsetting that the group disappeared as it was the most diverse group genetically. Our investigation shows that the animals who ventured outside the reserve were killed by poachers who used metal hinges. Now snow leopards have to be imported from other regions, which is complicated: the snow leopards that are native to Central Asia are genetically so different that they could be considered a subspecies. At the same time, they are the easiest to transport and release at the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve. Genetically, our snow leopards are closer to the animals in Mongolia. They belong to the same group and we have records of snow leopards crossing the Russian-Mongolian border. But importing animals from Mongolia is an issue to be discussed at government level. No action has been taken yet in this area,” Sergei Naidenko added.