Government to do whatever is necessary to protect snow leopard

Government to do whatever is necessary to protect snow leopard

3 October 2023

During her working trip to the Altai Republic, Deputy Prime Minister Viktoria Abramchenko held a meeting on preserving and protecting the habitat of Russia’s key cross-border group of snow leopards.


The world’s snow leopard population has almost halved over the past few decades with only about 2,000 left. There are only about 70-90 individuals in Russia, half of which live in the Altai Republic. According to ecologists, the snow leopard population in Russia and in the world is on the verge of complete extinction, so it is necessary to take prompt action to preserve the rare animal.


As the meeting participants noted, the populations of the Siberian mountain goat and the Altai sheep, which are the main hunting resource and food supply for the snow leopard, have significantly decreased due to unregulated hunting and cases of poaching.


Viktoria Abramchenko supported proposals on additional environmental protection measures in the Republic of Altai. In particular, expanding the borders of Sailyugemsky National Park or creating new specially protected nature areas of federal significance were being discussed. These measures have already been supported by the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Russian Research Institute for Environmental Protection.


“The snow leopard population is on the verge of extinction, so it is necessary to take the most serious measures to protect the animal. We propose taking the snow leopard’s habitat under federal protection, including the Chikhachyov Ridge. It is also necessary to prohibit building capital construction projects in this area. It is important to carry out competent explanatory work with the local people; so they know their rights will not be violated in any way and that grazing of farm animals will be preserved. We expect that the snow leopard population will double by 2030 thanks to a set of measures taken by the Government,” Viktoria Abramchenko noted.


The meeting participants also discussed measures to combat poaching in the region. Despite the introduction of a zero quota for shooting Altai mountain ibex, camera traps in protected nature areas have recorded many cases of hunting the animal.


Following the meeting, Viktoria Abramchenko instructed the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources, together with the region, to prepare an action plan to combat poaching and preserve rare species of animals living in the Altai Republic. The action plan must be approved by November. In addition, the Deputy Prime Minister supported the head of the region’s request to issue instructions to suspend the issuance of licenses for the right to use subsoil in the relevant territories. This is necessary to preserve the unique natural eco-systems of the region and protect the animal world.


The Ministry of Natural Resources has been instructed to conduct a survey of protected and nearby areas, including the migration routes of the snow leopard, and include them within the boundaries of the protected territory. All measures to protect the territory should double the snow leopard population by 2030.