Tien Shan: Opener

My name is Malika Fettak and I will be leading the first two groups of this year’s snow leopard expedition in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan.

Malika Fettak

I am looking forward to returning to Bishkek, the mountains and all the lovely people we will work with. Our partner on the ground is NABU Kyrgyzstan and more specifically the ‘Grupa Bars’, a four-person snow leopard patrol who will support us in the field in groups of two.

Dr . Tytar (right) and two members of the Grupa Bars

Dr. Volodymyr Tytar will be the scientist on this expedition. Originally from the Ukraine, he has been working on snow leopard research in different locations for decades and has been involved in our Tien Shan project from the very beginning back in 2014.

Dr. Tytar

Groups 3 & 4 will also meet Amadeus DeKastle as group leader who will take over from me after the first half. Over the next week Amadeus & I will prepare the equipment & paperwork, set up camp in the mountains, do the shopping, have meetings and briefings with helpers, partners and staff.

Amadeus DeKastle (c) Noel van Bemmel

I am about to arrive in Bishkek and meet Amadeus and Volodya. As we meet, here’s some admin for group 1: Please note that the meeting point at 8:00 on Monday morning remains at the Futuro Hotel as per the description in the dossier. From there we will drive in convoy (four cars) out of the city and into the mountains. We’ll need a couple of drivers to volunteer to drive one of the vehicles after a basic introduction to the (automatic) cars (a comprehensive off-road driving course will be part of the training at camp.) Please have a think about it already so that we can sort it out quickly when we meet.

I hope your preparations are going well. I’ll be in touch again soon from Bishkek. Once I’ve purchased a local SIM card I’ll share my local mobile number with you (for emergencies only).

That’s it for now, best wishes


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