Big Plans in Kyrgyzstan

When you donate to the Snow Leopard Trust, you help us run conservation programs, like Snow Leopard Enterprises in Kyrgyzstan, but also you help us conducting some amazing research so that we can learn more about snow leopards—and improve our conservation programs. 

Kyrgyz researcher Kubanych Jumabaev (known as “Kuban”) has a busy schedule ahead as he collects wolf and snow leopard scat to compare their seasonal diets in Kyrgyzstna’s Sarychat-Ertash Nature Reserve, the country’s largest State reserve. The Sarycha-Ertash reserve runs throughout the Terskey Mountain Range along the border with China and is prime snow leopard habitat.

Kuban will compare the scats he collects this Fall with scats he collects in May 2009, and divided each sample into two in order to perform both diet and genetic analyses on each one. Kuban’s diet analysis will reveal many things, including the extent of diet overlap between snow leopards and wolves, and the prey preference of each predator. Kuban will also use the scat sample to see how much snow leopards and wolves prey on livestock. This information, when combined with interviews of local herders regarding livestock numbers, herding practices, and livestock losses, will provide insight into the existing level of human-wildlife conflict in the region.

Genetic analysis of the scat samples will help Kuban estimate the number of snow leopards and wolves in the reserve as well as positively identify which scat came from which species.

To top it off, in October 2009, Kuban will spend three weeks gathering census information on argali and ibex populations (wild goats and sheep) in order to determine the natural prey base available to snow leopards and wolves in the reserve. We look forward to the results of his valuable research which will shed light on the dietary needs of snow leopards and their wolf competitors, and clarify the amount of human-wildlife conflict in the Sarychat-Ertash Nature Reserve.

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