There’s been a sunny day down in the Altai (for a change) and our expedition is now moving towards Chicacheva ridge for their surveys and camera-trapping.
Whilst they are out there collecting more data, you may be interested in the latest publication, just out, called “Snow Leopard Conservation in Russia” (available from www.wwf.ru/resources/publ/book/eng/599). Our work over the years is mentioned several times (pages 15, 18) and also that there is “a great deal of opportunity to develop collaborations with such internationally known organizations as Biosphere Expeditions that involve tourists and volunteers in monitoring rare species, including the snow leopard.” (page 81).
Things are changing in the Altai with the establishment of community-based initiatives such as a snow leopard museum in Kosh-Agach or the “Kosh-Agach District Community Ecological Inspection Team for the Protection of Natural and Cultural Heritage”. We are now working closely with other organisations such as the WWF (on co-ordinating our research efforts and creating local incentives), the Altai Project and the Foundation for Sustainable Altai (on involving local people) or academic instutions in Novosibirsk and Gorno Altaisk (on our expedition placement / scholarship programme for local students).
None of this would be possible without the help and finance that is provided by you, our expedition participants, so thank you very much for this. For those of you who have been on the expedition, we hope this makes it all worthwhile; for those of you yet to make the trip to the Altai with us, we hope it will increase your enthusiasm and resolve to put up with the foul weather we are having at the moment, the bureaucracy and whatever else the Altaian home of the snow leopard may be throwing at us in the weeks to come.
Update from our snow leopard conservation expedition to the high mountains of the Altai Republic in Central Asia