On May 25, 2011, many organizations in Altai and from around the world banded together to celebrate Snow Leopard Day.
Following an extremely successful pilot celebration the previous year, this year’s festivities took place in Kosh-Agach and Inegen (Argut region). Funding, coordination, and other support for the event was provided by the WWF-Altai-Sayan, Foundation for Sustainable Development of Altai, and Snow Leopard Conservancy.
Part of the larger and ambitious Land of the Snow Leopard project (major funding by UNDP/GEF), the holiday is aimed at involving local school children and their families from Altai and Tyva Republics in Russia and western Mongolia in snow leopard conservation.
In September 2011, there will be another celebration, this time in Gorno-Altaisk.
Over 125 children, their families, and teachers gathered in the two regions for art contests, handicrafts, plays, singing, dancing, and poetry, all centering on snow leopards.
Mikhail Paltsyn, projects coordinator at WWF Altai-Sayan opened the festivities, “The snow leopard’s future depends on herders living under these mountain skies, on your parents, and in the future their destiny will fully depend on you. This holiday nourishes us and puts hope in our hearts as snow leopards are living here alongside us!”
Next year, the festival will again expand to include more participants from Mongolia more distant Russian snow leopard homelands in Tyva and Buryatia (historical snow leopard habitat).