DSWF funds upgrades at important new snow leopard sanctuary
The log cabin at Shamshy Wildlife Sanctuary, the former hunting concession that the Snow Leopard Trust (SLT) is co-managing with the Kyrgyz government as a protected area, is receiving a much-needed upgrade this month thanks to DSWF funding. Once finished, it will serve as an eco-education centre and base camp for the rangers.
Rumour has it that the cabin at Shamshy was originally been built in the 1970s to accommodate the shah of Persia on a hunting trip. The trip never happened, but the cabin has been used as a ramshackle base for rangers and visitors to the area ever since.
Now, it will get a second life as the base camp of the Shamshy Wildlife Sanctuary to host researchers and small eco-tourism groups. It will also serve as a classroom and camp for local students who’ll come to the area to learn about the mountain ecosystem and the various species that call Shamshy home – including the majestic snow leopard.
Renovations on the cabin are about 70% complete. The local team has installed a new roof, replaced all windows, and installed solar panels, which were donated by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, to supply the cabin with independent, clean, renewable, and free energy. They also renovated the interior, adding an inviting bench and table, among other upgrades.
Fixing the porch is next on the agenda. “Once the work is finished, Shamshy will be the foremost eco-education centre in the country,” says Kuban Jumabai uulu, the Snow Leopard Trust’s Program Director in Kyrgyzstan. “And it’s only 2 hours from the capital, Bishkek, so it will be very convenient for visitors who want to learn more about Kyrgyz wildlife.”
In March 2016, DSWF partnered with SLT to pilot a new conservation programme in Kyrgyzstan: turning a hunting concession into a co-managed nature reserve. Camera trap evidence in September 2016 (see below) shows a vibrant snow leopard population and reinforces the importance of this project.
Find out more about DSWF’s work in Kyrgyzstan and help us protect the country’s snow leopards by clicking here