Kazan Summit participants discuss snow leopard conservation

Kazan Summit participants discuss snow leopard conservation

3 August 2021

Employees of the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve took part in the Russia – Islamic World International Economic Summit.


The summit included a roundtable on the prospects for implementing joint projects for snow leopard conservation. The need to preserve and restore biodiversity is relevant in Russia as well as around the world. The snow leopard is one of the rare and endangered species of the feline family. The participants discussed the possibiliy of establishing a centre for the study of endangered cat species in the Republic of Tatarstan, as well as the experience of recovering and preserving snow leopard populations in Russia.


Speaking at the roundtable were Dmitry Gorshkov, the director of WWF Russia, as well as Vyacheslav Rozhnov, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and the scientific director of environmental and nature conservation projects and international programmes at the RAS Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, who presented a report on the planned research centre. The concept of the centre has already been worked out; the site has been determined, and preparations for construction are underway. Valentina Zyablitskaya, deputy director for environmental education at Sailyugem National Park, shared her experience with studying the snow leopard. She spoke about the research methods used in the park and shared some recommendations for preserving the snow leopard within the boundaries of its historical habitat.


At the end of the roundtable, Yelena Shikalova, deputy director for research at the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve, reported on a scientific programme for the study of snow leopards using modern equipment. She advanced proposals to strengthen the protection of rare species within their habitat due to the threat of poaching. The snow leopard population of the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve had been practically lost by 2018. To restore the population, two snow leopards brought from Tajikistan were released into the protected area. The animals successfully adapted to their new environment, staked out their territory, and regularly appeared in camera trap photos. In October 2020, the female bore offspring, two cubs. Now the young animals are actively exploring the territory together with their mother, and their images are often captured on cameras.