Experts discuss snow leopard protection

Experts discuss snow leopard protection

12 September 2022

A meeting took place on protecting the snow leopard and restoring the species population within its historic habitat. Participants in the event discussed ways to maintain snow leopard groups and learned about the habitat of the rare cat in the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve, the northern border of the snow leopard habitat. The meeting was held as part of the project Snow Leopard: A Preservation Strategy, which is being implemented with support from the Russian Geographical Society.


Among the meeting participants were employees of the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve, Shushensky Bor National Park, Krasnoyarsk’s Royev Ruchei Wildlife Park, the Perm Zoo, and representatives of the Khakassia branch of the Russian Geographical Society. These organisations are doing the joint working together to recreate the snow leopard population. As part of a major project launched in 2018 with the release of two snow leopards from Tajikistan in the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve, work is underway to create a breeding, rehabilitation and reintroduction centre for snow leopards in Krasnoyarsk at the Royev Ruchei Wildlife Park. The park was chosen because it has experience housing snow leopards before releasing them into the wild, as well as well-equipped laboratories for medical check-ups.


In 2019, another snow leopard, a young female with an injured paw, was brought from Tajikistan to Krasnoyarsk. The zoologists examined the animal and had to operate on it to save its life. “The animal will not be able to survive in the wild,” they concluded. However, the female can have a litter, which will serve as the basis for the breeding, rehabilitation and reintroduction centre. Last autumn, the female, named Aksu, was moved to the Perm Zoo to meet Snezhik the male leopard.


“The snow leopards currently live in adjacent enclosures; we let them mingle from time to time and watch how they behave. We hope that the next mating period will be successful and we will get cubs,” said Yulia Shitova, director of the Perm Zoo.


During the on-site meeting, the participants discussed further activities, examined the adaptation enclosure in the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve, and checked several trail cameras that recently captured a male snow leopard at marking spots and a female born in 2020.


“The snow leopard is a unique animal and at the same time very vulnerable. It is necessary to implement a range of measures aimed at securing the snow leopard habitat and maintaining the life of animal groups in order to preserve it. No less important are keeping an eye on the food supply and constant monitoring. It is only possible to reach all the goals by uniting our efforts,” the meeting participants concluded.