Snow Leopards in Kyrgyzstan
DSWF is helping to turn a former hunting concession, where ibex were commercially hunted, into a co-managed nature reserve to help protect snow leopards in this important area.
In March 2016, DSWF partnered with Snow Leopard Trust (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 shows a vibrant snow leopard population and reinforces the importance of this project.
Kyrgyzstan is one of the most important snow leopard conservation range countries, it ranks fifth in the world for snow leopard population (200-400 cats) and fourth in terms of habitat. Mountains dominate the landscape and over 75 per cent of the country is snow leopard habitat. One of the other most important factors in making Kyrgyzstan a high priority for snow leopards is its geographical location as the possible connection between the northern snow leopard populations in Russia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan to the rest of the range countries to the west and south.
With ibex being one of the most important prey species for snow leopards in Kyrgyzstan the team are now focusing on a 100 square mile former hunting concession in the northern Tian Shan Mountains called Shamshy.
Shamshy is home to ibex, and seasonal populations of argali (mountain sheep) and wolves. It lies within a large snow leopard landscape and has the potential to become a key part of the home ranges of several snow leopards if its wild ungulate population can be increased.
This innovative, new programme has been made possible by a partnership between the Snow Leopard Trust (funded by DSWF), Snow Leopard Foundation Kyrgyzstan, and the Department of Hunting and Natural Resource Management under the State Agency for Environment Protection and Forestry of the Kyrgyz Republic. DSWF is helping launch the programme by funding key improvements and upgrades to the infrastructure of the reserve, support for rangers, and essential equipment like trap cameras for research.
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Did you know?
Kyrgyzstan is one of the most important snow leopard conservation range countries