From our snow leopard volunteering expedition in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan (http://www.biosphere-expeditions.org/tienshan)

It was after midnight when we arrived back in Bishkek this Sunday morning.

When we left on Friday, we did not expect the unexpected when driving up the mountain pass road well in time according to the timetable set for preparing base camp. Road construction work was going on in the darkness of the tunnel, so it was closed for trucks, including ours!

Loaded truck
Loaded truck
Roadworks
Roadworks

Phil, Volodya, Emma, Isma & I passed in one of the expedition cars while Aman and Bekbolot stayed back in the truck on the other side. No information could be gained about how long the temporarily closure would last. So we just sat and waited, and waited, and waited, watching dozens of trucks piling up in front of us probably half way down the pass road. Four hours later, at 18:00, the worker’s finishing time, finally the orange & white NABU truck appeared out of the dark of the tunnel!

We drove on in convoy until about half past eight until we reached the place of a herder friend of ours, where we pitched a few tents for spending the night in.

In convoy
In convoy
Fuelling up
Fuelling up
Traffic jam
Traffic jam
Stopping overnight by the herder's yurt
Stopping overnight by the herder’s yurt

But we did not go to sleep before having a very basic but good dinner.

Dinner
Dinner

After another three-hour drive on Saturday, we reached last year’s base camp location and finally we scouted out a beautiful location close to Talant’s (another herder friend) yurt, about two km further up the Karakol Pass. The spot is at an altitude of 2,950 m and beside a stream supplying us with water and the opportunity for a very refreshing bath for the very brave. You may feel some shortness of breath when arriving, but don’t worry, we will take it slowly, and although altitude sickness can occur from 2,400 m onwards, medical evidence shows that it is not usually a problem below 3,500 m.

Base camp
Base camp
Unpacking at base
Unpacking at base

Talant and his family are good friends with the NABU staff and they have also been hosting expedition teams every year in their yurt for a traditional Kyrgyzs meal on the day off. Talant’s sons will also look after the camp during the week between slot 1 & 2, when everyone will go back to Bishkek.

I would not call base camp set-up a routine, but now in our third year, we are a well-oiled team. So the truck was quickly unloaded and the kitchen tent & cooker were set up first, so that Emma start weaving her magic in the kitchen. Because of the delay, we only had part of the day to set up and did so without allowing ourselves a break. By 18:00 base was set up sufficiently so that Phil, Aman, Emma & I could leave for another six hour drive back to Bishkek. Volodya, Bekbolot and Isma stayed back to finish setting up for our return on Monday. Team 1: We need lots of people to set up the yurt, so this will be our first activity after the long journey from Bishkek and before I’ll talk everyone through the risk assessment.

Whilst I write this, Phil has gone for some last minute shopping with Emma. It is sunny and warm in Bishkek and the 14 day weather forecast looks promising. The second expedition vehicle has just been delivered, I have printed some more paperwork such as a Russian translation of the interview datasheet, etc. and will finish up with office work today.

I hope you are as excited as we are, now that preparation is over and we are all ready to go! We are looking forward to meeting the first team tomorrow (Monday) morning at 08:00 at Futuro hotel.


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

From our snow leopard volunteering expedition in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan (http://www.biosphere-expeditions.org/tienshan)

 

We’re leaving Bishkek tomorrow morning to set up base camp. The truck is loaded with equipment such as the yurt, stove & wood, kitchen, mess, toilet & shower tents, cooking gear, gas bottles, fuel canisters, tables & benches and a great variety of other farily useful things. Today Emma, Volodya & Phil spent most of day shopping. An infinite loop of filling basket after basket, passing the cashier, loading the car and going straight back in for the next run. I stayed back at the NABU offices preparing paperwork and equipment.

Shopping
Shopping

The datasheets are printed, the GPSs set up and the scat collection kits made up (you will learn what that is during the training days).

Emma & Volodya loading up
Emma & Volodya loading up

Keep your fingers crossed that the truck won’t get stuck or drive into the ditch as it did last year! Aman, Phil & I will return to Bishkek on Saturday. I will let you have the latest news before the first team meets on Monday morning.

And finally, a word on the weather: It has been raining in Bishkek almost every day, but when the sun comes out it is pretty hot in the city. The south side of Ala-Too range, where our study site is, is less cloudy, but the temperatures will be much lower. Please be

prepared for both rain and sunshine (and snow can fall even in summer). Temperatures in the mountains can be anything from 5 to 25 degrees C, sometimes even dropping to freezing overnight. More first hand info when we are back from setting up.


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

From our snow leopard volunteering expedition in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan (http://www.biosphere-expeditions.org/tienshan)

Phil & I arrived in Bishkek on Sunday, where we were warmly welcomed by our partners on the ground at the NABU office and went straight to work. We fetched the expedition equipment, stored last year at the outskirts of Bishkek, together with Almaz and NABU staff. It was­ half a truck load of tents, the yurt, research and kitchen equipment, spare tyres and car boxes, water and fuel canisters, cookers, gas bottles, benches & tables, etc., etc.

truck at storage 3-7-16

In the afternoon we were invited to a meal with everyone.

NABU&BEstaff 3-7-16

Over the next couple of days we will be checking the equipment, writing shopping lists, going shopping for food and other supplies, and updating paperwork. Tomorrow will be the end of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month, a public holiday of big celebration here in Kyrgyzstan. So we are hoping to find some Chinese shops open tomorrow morning, which means group 1 will be on Chinese food for a couple of weeks 😉

Volodya, our scientist, arrived this morning, completing the team. We had a meeting with Amadeus in the afternoon, talking through butterfly, birds & petroglyph data collection procedures using the newly created apps. Volodya was quite excited about how easy & quick data collection and processing could be, if modern technology does work out in the field. We will have old-fashioned pen & paper versions as back-ups too.

Tonight Emma kindly invited us to have dinner at her place. She cooked a delicious meal and made Phil & I eat an enormous amount of Tiramisu afterwards. In case any of you consider weight loss to be a possible side effect to the expedition, forget about it! 😉

Emma dinner 4-7-16


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

From our snow leopard volunteering expedition in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan (http://www.biosphere-expeditions.org/tienshan)

Hello everyone and welcome to the Tien Shan 2016 expedition diary!

My name is Malika and I will be your expedition leader on the first group together with Phil. Phil will then take over leading groups 2 & 3 of this year’s snow leopard conservation expedition to the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan.

Malika Fettak
Malika Fettak
Phil Markey
Phil Markey

For the third time this Biosphere Expeditions project will be run in collaboration with NABU Kyrgyzstan and the ‘Gruppa Bars’ (snow leopard patrol), consisting of four Kyryzs NABU members of staff that work in snow leopard conservation all whole year round. Each group will be accompaigned by two Gruppa Bars members (and I’ll introduce you to everyone in due course). They will be our guides, mountain experts, spokespeople and link to the local herders.

Dr. Volodya Tytar, originally from the Ukraine, is the expedition scientist. He has been working on this snow leopard project for more than a decade from the very beginning in the Altai mountains of Russia, before the study site was moved to Kyrgyzstan in 2014. If you would like to read about last year’s results, the 2015 expedition report will be ready for downloading within the next few days. You’ll receive an e-mail notification soon! Older reports are on www.biosphere-expeditions.org/reports.

Dr. Volodya Tytar
Dr. Volodya Tytar

As in previous years, we will also have a couple of local placements on each group. They all have a specific interest in conservation, good knowledge of English and will help with communications in general and with conducting interviews at local herders’ yurts in particular.

So far so good. All staff involved are busy with organising things by e-mailing from our desks in Germany, the UK, Kiev and Bishkek, but we will all finally meet at the Bishkek NABU office on Sunday. So we will be about a week ahead of you, fetching base camp equipment from storage, checking and shopping for items that need to be replaced, buying supplies, etc. We will scout out a base camp location, set up camp, meet our cook Emma, shop for food (a lot) and make sure everything will be ready and in place for research work to commence when the first team arrives.

As regards the research work, have a look below, where methods and equipment are explained. The more you know now, the easier it will be for you during the first two training days, so do swot up, if you can. In addition to studying the dossier, have a look at the “Methods & equipment” playlist. The bits that are relevant to the expedition are first and foremost our cell survey methodology, followed by GPS, compass & map, Garmin etrex 20, PBLs, camera trapping and binoculars. Enjoy!

Finally, a word on some additional research we will be doing (that is not mentioned in the dossier): Amadeus, a local placement who joined the expedition in 2015, has created a ‘Butterflies of Kyrgyzstan’ app based on data that were collected last year. We will continue collecting butterfly data along the way on survey walks either by pen & paper or, much better, by putting data directly into the app. The app is available for downloading at WWW.DISCOVERNATURE.ORG.KG (Android version only). So, if you are planning to bring your personal Android smartphone, please consider downloading the app (how we will recharge all the phones in the absence of a convenient power plug is another matter ;). We will also be collecting data on birds that will contribute to creating a similar ‘Birds of Kyrgyzstan’ app in due course. Of course you will be trained on all of this during the introduction and training day!

That’s it for now. Once Phil and I have arrived in Bishkek we’ll be in touch again with our local phone numbers and some more updates from the ground.

Best wishes

Malika Fettak

Expedition leader

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From our snow leopard volunteering expedition in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan (http://www.biosphere-expeditions.org/tienshan)

Trainings of trainers in Batken province

Rahat Yusubalieva was a placement programme recipient on the Tien Shan snow leopard expedition with Biosphere Expeditions from 22 June – 4 July 2015. In December 2015 Rahat shared her knowledge and experience as part of the environmental training sessions in the rural schools of Kyrgyzstan’ s Batken province, the most south-west and remote part of the country bordering on Tajikistan.

On 16 and 23 December 2015 trainings of trainers (TOT) sessions were conducted in the villages of Andarak and Iskra in Batken province. Participants included school students of grades 7 to 10, as well as teachers of biology and geography. The sessions focused on ecosystem conservation, management of water, forest, land and pasture resources in relation to climate change impacts. Participants discussed how local ecosystems have changed in the last two decades and how people can conserve them. The goal of the TOT was to inform local educational institutions on the current state of the environment, methods of conservation, and for local community members to reflect on how they are influencing their own environment, and to integrate their own observations and new scientific knowledge into the school curriculum.

The TOT also covered the snow leopard, its habits, prey animals, threats to its survival, as well as the historical and cultural meaning of the snow leopard for the people of Kyrgyzstan. A documentary film “Irbis, legends of snow covered mountains” was shown and followed by a discussion. Participants were also informed on research findings by Biosphere Expeditions in West Karakol and Kyrgyzstan’s action plans for snow leopard conservation.

Residents of Andarak and Iskra villages depend on the resources of their mountain environment and Sarkent National Park, where people graze their animals and collect wood. Endangered species, which are under government protection also inhabit the park, including snow leopards. According to the director of Sarkent National Park, tracks of snow leopards are often seen in the park, as well as remains of mountain goats preyed on by snow leopards. However, due to the remoteness of the area and lack of finances, the park does not have equipment and camera traps to monitor them. Local people said that about a decade ago, a snow leopard’s pelt was found and the poachers were caught. Now hunting of mountain goats in the park is prohibited both for local and foreign hunters until 2017, when the moratorium is up for re-consideration.

 

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From our snow leopard volunteering expedition in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan (http://www.biosphere-expeditions.org/tienshan)

Snow leopard ground data and computer modelling

The two months long 2015 snow leopard expedition to the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan ended on 8 August, with the last of three teams breaking camp. Biosphere Expeditions in collaboration with the local office of German NGO NABU (Naturschutzbund = Nature & Biodiversity Conservation Union) runs the snow leopard expedition annually with the aim of providing valuable scientific data to empower local authorities to make informed conservation decisions and take action based on hard data.

One of the highlights of this year’s results is the confirmation of snow leopard presence (in the form of tracks and scat) in the Kyrgyz Alatoo range. Three individual instances were recorded over the course of two months.

While this is exciting, especially for volunteer citizen scientists doing the ground work in the field, the project does not focus solely on the search of snow leopard sign, but also collects information on prey species. For example, mammals and birds that can reveal information on the biodiversity and health of the habitat as well as disturbances.

“It all adds to statistics and you also take into account the zeros”, explains field scientist Dr. Volodya Tytar. “If you check the camera trap and say – oh there is nothing – it is something! Because if it is a zero, which has been obtained, that also adds to the statistical database.”

When talking about how the data are used, Dr. Tytar mentions a new approach called ‘ecological niche modelling’ or ‘species distribution modelling’. This consists of the combination of readily available environmental digital information (for example temperature, moisture, vegetation, etc.) with ground data collected by volunteers. Computer software then combines the two to arrive at some sophisticated forecasting of wildlife distribution. It also identifies new areas that have not been surveyed yet, but that could be promising snow leopard habitat. “With modern computing methods a lot can be done”, Dr. Tytar adds, “but the bottleneck turns out to be that there are often very little ground data. So the data collected by our expeditioners in the field adds a fundamental missing piece of information to an existing digital information puzzle, enabling predictive analysis of species distribution even across non-surveyed areas – an exercise which would otherwise not be possible.”

Talking about the results of this year’s expedition, Dr. Tytar says that together with NABU, Biosphere Expeditions will be able to generate specific conclusions and recommendations about candidate areas for conservation status: “There are areas where we found fresh tracks of ibex in combination with minimum disturbances. Many of these areas are in very confined mountain locations with only one entrance, so they would be quite easy to protect by just having, say, a ranger station or a signboard and people patrolling the area. I think all this together in the future will work out in a network of protected areas, maybe including some kind of corridors as well. What we have been doing here significantly contributes to that kind of work”, concludes Dr. Tytar.

Listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, the snow leopard is threatened by poaching, retaliatory killings and habitat loss. It is estimated that fewer than 7,500 snow leopards remain in the wild. One goal formulated by an international snow leopard conference in Bishkek in 2014 was the 20/20 pledge – to protect 20 snow leopard landscapes that have over 100 breeding adults by 2020, and to promote sustainable development in areas where the species lives.
 

 Slideshow of the 2015 expedition:

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From our snow leopard volunteering expedition in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan (http://www.biosphere-expeditions.org/tienshan)

Greetings from Bishkek and apologies for the late entry. It took a while to get the photos organised.

The last seven hours drive from base camp back to Bishkek marks the end of the 4th and last slot of the 2015 Tien Shan expedition studying the elusive snow leopard.

After the final two weeks work surrounded by the amazing Kyrgyz mountain landscape and having made new friends, it is hard to say final goodbyes, but everybody is proud of the legacy they have left behind on this last group: 32 surveyed cells, 18 mammals datasheets filled, 3 direct observations of ibex (also recorded on camera traps) and two additional species of birds (adding to the total of 48 species recorded throughout the entire 2015 Tien Shan expedition period), make for some impressive results.

And what a last team that was! From the very first day everybody settled in quickly and enthusiastically, learning swiftly (helped by old hands Ellen and Vincent, thanks!) and then logging direct sightings of ibex on the very first survey.

We did not record any sign of snow leopard as on the slots before, but plenty of prey species and other environmental data. As our scientist Volodya says, even zero signs recorded in a given cell represent important data (especially in revisited cells) as lack of wildlife signs in cells where it was recorded before helps us understand the direct influence of human presence and the impact of disturbances such as herders and their livestock moving to higher grounds as the snows melted and fresh grass ran out lower down (making a good case for setting up conservation areas to reduce human interference on wildlife). In fact, the melting of the snow allowed to us to survey areas that were previously inaccessible to the preceding slots, driving the 4x4s over and across hair-raising mountain pass roads and onto new valleys. We definitely put those off-road driving skills learned to good practice.

One of the highlights of the slot was witnessing a whole herd of ibex (we counted 10+ on 31st July) moving across a mountain ridge visible from Donguruma valley. A relatively short walk took us to 3618 m, from where we watched the ibexes in awe through our binoculars. Volodya later explained to us that this is repeated behaviour observed in this area where ibex tend to move from one valley to the next when disturbed.

Our last survey walk of the season was a trip to Issyk-ata Pass and Chunchikan valley to retrieve the last four camera traps. Unfortunately the camera traps from Issyk-ata only yielded photos of fellow volunteers (camera set-up & retrieval selfie time!) and empty landscape. However, after two weeks out in snow leopard territory, the camera traps from Chunchikan valley provided us with some good photos of a young ibex and a couple of interesting videos of another (or maybe the same) ibex going past the device and shaking its fluffy tail at us.

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We also had the excitement of our toilet tent disappearing twice. Our detective work found that one of the neighbouring cows had unsuccessfully tried to use it! It was queues in the mornings after that with only one last toilet tent standing, but luckily we had no more cow incidents.

Special thanks to all our volunteers who put so much effort towards this expedition, our field scientist Volodya for sharing his knowledge and insights and for leading us through his work, to our local partners NABU and especially our two experienced and trusty Kyrgyz of the Gruppa Bars and last but not least our champion cook Emma.

Thank you. Safe travels, back keep in touch with Biosphere Expeditions and I hope to see you all again on another expedition some day. And remember Margaret Mead’s word: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Keep up your good efforts for the conservation of this beautiful planet.

Rossella

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From our snow leopard volunteering expedition in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan (http://www.biosphere-expeditions.org/tienshan)

Diary slot 3 (apologies for the delay)

Surrounded by streams, baseccamp II is located further up the valley closer to the Karakol mountain pass. The local name of the place is ‘Aral’ – island – describing exactly what it is. To get there from the main road a shallow stream must be crossed – I’m glad the truck made it safely through.

Team 3 assembles in time on Monday morning in Bishkek. Peter is with us again on his 2nd slot, there are Suzie and Ellen from the U.S., Nick from New Zealand, four Germans: Anke, Barbara & Michael and Andre, Siv & Duncan, a Norwegian/English couple, Vincent from Switzerland and last-minute joiner Ceire, also from the UK. Placement Nurjan from Bishkek completes the team.

It’s incredibly hot on the training day, so we seek shelter from the sun in the yurt during the afternoon. Some of us are even seen in their swimming costumes taking a refreshing bath in the river – temperature: 8 degrees!

Starting from last slot’s overnighter location, now only 10 minutes away from camp, we survey Kashka Tor valley on the first survey day. Remember this is where we found fresh snow leopard tracks and have set up two camera traps. Kurmanbek has hired a horse from our neighbour and friend Talant – he says that from a horse’s back the well-being of the whole group can be overseen much better! 😉 We split into two groups later on. A side valley is explored – so far unknown terrain – and the camera traps are picked up. No fresh wildlife tracks are found anywhere in the valley, so unfortunately no good reason for setting up more. Older signs of ibex and argali are around, though, marmot calls are heard all day. There are also eight different butterfly species, some of which are not amongst the common species of the picture sheets Amadeus created for us to continue his scientific butterfly data collection. No pictures of snow leopard on the cameras.

We find more signs of snow leopard presence at the very end of Issyk-Ata valley! Peter and Andre make our day, reporting from a long snow leopard track found in the snow and bringing back quite a few very good pictures.

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And another exceptional finding is made on Saturday: Manul tracks. The location at an altitude of 3,650 m is at ‘no name valley’ (because it does not have a name on the map), not far from basecamp. Discussing the finding during the daily review, Volodya gets really excited. He explains that the manul has the same IUCN status as the snow leopard, but attracts much less attention. Proving the presence of another elusive and endangered species in the region is a precious piece of information.

A traditional Kyrgyz meal at a herder’s yurt is arranged on the day off (Sunday) with our neighbour Talant.

Takyr-Tor and Choloktor valley are surveyed on the next day. Don Galamish again on Tuesday before the overnighter team settles near base I while Anke, Barbara, Ellen, Michael and Nick drive back to spend the night at base II. Rain pours again when the overnighter teams head for Tuyuk to retrieve two more cameras, and Kumbel valley (= sandy mountain pass) unknown for most parts. Again, no snow leopard pictures on the cameras.

More exploration is done on Thursday. We cross the stream behind base for the first time. Neither on foot, nor by car this area would have been an option for surveys but horses can do it! In the morning Talant’s sons bring over two of them and one by one the team is ‘transported’ to the starting point. We do another short survey on the last day with Peter and Duncan retrieving a camera trap, Ceira, Siv and Nurjan going for interviews and the rest of the team doing a reccee on the other side of the Karakol mountain pass to check for possible overnight locations.

With everyone back at base, something very special is about to happen. Over the last couple of days Kurmanbek and Aman have gathered two teams for a traditional horse game and have set up the playing field right in front of basecamp. The ball must be picked up from the ground and be placed in a goal for points – somewhat similar to American football. Watching the scene from the slope we’re much impressed by the locals’ skills on their horsebacks, the speed and powerful action of the game. More young men on horses arrive while the game is on, but a downpour eventually ends the spectacle. We’re invited for the post-game meal to Joldosh’s hut – he is the undisputed champion of the game.

Back to the expeditions’ core business and the research, we meet in the late afternoon for a final review. During the 3rd slot, 32 positive cells have been recorded, about twice that number have been surveyed. 21 mammal datasheets were added to Volodya’s collection. To everyone’s great excitement, snow leopard tracks were found. Unexpectedly each slot recorded snow leopard tracks this year: in slot 1 at the Karakol Pass in snow, in slot 2 at Kashka Tor valley in mud (where a fowl was attacked last year) and in this slot again in snow at Issyk Ata. The manul footprint found at ‘no name valley’ is another highlight. Direct sightings of ibex were not recorded in slot 3. A very likely explanation for the lack of sightings is that with the snow melt, many, many more herders and their livestock have moved into the valley, pushing wildlife back into more remote areas. On the other hand, the interviews have been greatly boosted during this slot with more local people around. 19 yurts were visited, the age of interview partners ranged between 9 and 73 years. The bird list was extended to 45 species. Big birds of prey such as golden eagle, but also lammergeier have been recorded constantly, indicating a good quality habitat.

In the evening we socialise in the yurt enjoying the warmth of the stove and, of course, a shot of local vodka. To everyone’s surprise Anke, Barbara, Nurjan and Kurmanbek perform a Kyrgyz song rehearsed on a bad weather day. The somewhat wistful melody and the wording about the Kyrgyz way of life contributes to some unique experiences the team has gained over the last two weeks.

It’s time again to thank everyone – it’s been wonderful with every single one of you, slot 3. Special thanks go to Peter for his unwearing dedication over four expedition weeks and his help in many ways. As I said before, this project would not be possible without you passionate people putting time, money and sweat into it. I hope your expectations have been met and you’ve enjoyed the two weeks as much as I did. Safe travels onward or back home and keep in touch. I hope to see some of you again some time somewhere.

Having said alli this, I am now handing over to my colleague Rossella who will be leading this year’s last expedition slot in the Tien Shan mountains. Other assignments force me back to Europe with mixed feelings. A very heartfelt thanks goes to my colleague Volodya and NABU’s gruppa bars members Kurmanbek, Aman and Shailoo. You’ve been my family for two months. Together we did a great job overcoming language barriers and cultural differences with a good sense of humour, flexibility and the odd shot of vodka… all in an effort to save the snow leopard!

All the best,

Malika
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From our snow leopard volunteering expedition in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan (http://www.biosphere-expeditions.org/tienshan)

A week of re-org in Bishkek is almost over. I’ve spent some time with our partners from the NABU at their office reviewing the past four weeks and planning ahead for the next two slots. Quite some time was spent at the desk working through a long list of e-mails piled up in my inbox, doing the accounting, printing, laminating – all exciting stuff. I quite enjoyed doing my laundry! 😉

Kurmanbek, Volodya and I went for a reconnaissance drive to Chok Kemin valley on Wednesday. Around this valley, running parallel to the north edge of the Issyk Kol glacier lake, the Grupa Bars has been very successful with camera trapping snow leopard, wolf and bear. We met with Marat, one of the rangers of Chon Kemin National State Park and drove almost all the way up to the valley’s end. Various base camp locations were visited before we were invited for a meal at Marat’s house. It was in the evening when we returned back to Bishkek after a 3 1/2 hours drive.

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Today Kurmanbek, Aman, Volodya, Emma and I head off into the Kyrgyz Alatoo mountains again to set up base camp II. We’ve spent the whole day yesterday with food shopping. Two cars will take all supplies today. Once we’ve set up the yurt, mess & kitchen tent, etc., Aman and I will drive back to Bishkek tomorrow and meet team three on Monday morning 8:00 at the Grand Hotel. One more driver will then be requested from the team – please be prepared and bring your driving licences!

I’ve got to go. See all of team 3 on Monday!

Continue reading “From our snow leopard volunteering expedition in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan (http://www.biosphere-expeditions.org/tienshan)”