Conservation Around the World
Press Release, March 3rd, 2016. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
A total of ten Kyrgyz wildlife rangers have received a Citizen Ranger Wildlife Award for their courage in the fight against illegal hunting in the country’s snow leopard habitat in 2015. They were publicly honored in a ceremony in Bishkek today, on World Wildlife Day.
What’s the most important rule for any conservationist working with rural communities to protect wildlife? To be present! In our program countries, we have dedicated field staff who spend weeks, and sometimes months, living with the communities we partner with; changing minds and hearts, and laying the groundwork for successful snow leopard conservation.
Mongolian snow leopard researcher Sumbe Tomorsukh has been posthumously awarded the Freeman Family Snow Leopard Conservation Award, one of the most prestigious honors in the field, for his outstanding efforts to save this endangered cat.
One of our research cameras in Kyrgyzstan’s Sarychat-Ertash Nature Reserve recently picked up this beautiful sequence of a wild snow leopard mother with three cubs.
Analysis of spot patterns later revealed that these are the same cats we had seen the previous year, when the cubs were still tiny. “It’s great to see these cubs growing up. It gives me hope for the future of these cats in Kyrgyzstan“, says Kuban Jumabai uulu, the Country Director for our Kyrgyzstan program.
Overall, a preliminary analysis of the 2015 research camera data has shown that there are at least 19 individual snow leopards in Sarychat Ertash - along with other animals such as brown bears.
This work has been supported by the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, the Chattanooga Zoo, and Fondation Segré / Whitley Fund for Nature.