Here is the latest news on protected areas in Altai Republic – gathered during an October visit to the area. Although they face many ongoing challenges, Altai Republic’s protected areas cover an impressive 23%+ of its total territory.
Ak Cholushpa Nature Park, a new Republic-level nature park with an area of 168,000 km2, was approved in mid-October by the Republic government, although with different borders than initially anticipated, as several settlements declined to join the park. The new boundaries will result in 3 clusters – Chelyshman, the largest, at the south end of Teletskoye; Kalbakaya, near the Malaya Kokorya River; and the smallest “Pazyryk, southwest of the village of Balyktuyul’. Kun Obshchina, a Telengit indigenous association, along with Altaisky State Biosphere Reserve and WWF-Altai-Sayan worked together to plan and establish this park that partly adjoins Altaisky Reserve and Lake Teletskoye.
Sailyugem National Park still exists only on paper. The Federal Ministry of Finance meets in late October or November and may authorize funding for the federal park at that meeting. Even once the national park commences operations it will probably take 5 years for it to really operate effectively. SNP is key habitat for argali sheep and snow leopard.
Argut Nature Park – The administration of this park was recently eliminated, and the Republic-level park’s territory became a “cluster” of Uch Enmek Nature Park. This newly configured nature park should thrive under the leadership of Danil Mamyev, director of Uch Enmek. Nevertheless, it will be an uphill struggle as the park will lose some staff positions (reallocated to Ak Cholushpa), and it will remain geographically isolated (no telecommunications). Inegen village, the nearest settlement, will benefit from all the attention that it gets as an operations base for both the park and for our snow leopard research and anti-poaching activities planned jointly with Arkhar NGO.