From our snow leopard volunteering expedition in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan (

It’s 06:00 in the morning. Writing this, everyone else is still fast asleep, but very soon it will get busy at the NABU offices. Volodya, the expedition scientist arrived two days ago and preparations are now in full swing. Soon we will be heading out for a reconnaissance drive to the southern side of the Kyrgyz Alatoo range, investigating this year’s conditions on the ground and finding a good spot to set up base camp for slot 1. From what we’ve heard, it has been extraordinarily wet in the mountains over the last few months, most probably there will be snow cover higher up.

A couple of days ago we collected the base camp equipment from storage – a garage outside the city of Bishkek. It’s a good thing we have the truck, kindly supplied by our local partner NABU. Since then every single item has been unpacked and checked. Emma, the expedition cook, joined us on Tuesday, just back from a trip to Russia. We’ve started working through our shopping list at one of Bishkek’s biggest markets. Besides many other kitchen items, we bought a new cooker, but not before Emma gave it a thorough check. After more shopping at innumerable hardware stores and supermarkets, we went to a private supplier to check a yurt we are planning to buy.

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The placement interviews went well. So far four local people will join the expedition slots – one Kyrgyz student in the first slot, two more in the second and one in the third slot. We continue to receive applications and more interviews will be held in the remaining days before our departure from Bishkek.

I’ll be back in touch once we return from our mountain reconnaissance drive.

From our snow leopard volunteering expedition in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan 

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