News & Events

News & Events

Stay up to date on what’s happening in Altai and at The Altai Project.

Altai argali sheep skulls (photo by J. Gibbs)

Altaigate. The Final Chapter. (Novaya Gazeta article)

February 20th, 2017

NovayaGazeta.ru: Altaigate. The Final Chapter By Elena Racheva 16 Feb 2017 A helicopter carrying Anatoly Bannykh, well-known organizer of hunting trips for wealthy government officials, has crashed into Lake Teletskoye. This is his second catastrophe. The first cost Bannykh the vice-premier’s seat. Today’s crash, it seems, will have cost much more. The Ministry of Emergency Affairs […]

What is new with The Altai Project?

August 25th, 2016

An update on The Altai Project and conservation in Altai.

Ornithologist Igor Karyakin, perched alongside a nest of Eastern imperial eagles. Photo by E. Nikolenko.

News from Jennifer

November 9th, 2015

We had an introspective summer and early fall, contemplating events in Russia and their implications for the future. We have some big news on that later this month, but first let’s catch up on recent goings on in Altai.

“Land of the Snow Leopard” Festival

July 10th, 2015

Since its inception in 2009, this Festival has expanded into a popular youth-centered environmental movement with schoolchildren coming from as far away as Mongolia.

New Snow Leopard Video Footage!

June 19th, 2015

Sergei Spitsyn just sent a report from the field; he’s been working on Chikhacheva Ridge for the last 10 days, checking camera traps, deploying new ones, seeing what the latest snow leopard going ons there are. Good news! Adult male Khorgai visited numerous camera traps, and female Guta not only reappeared after a lengthy absence, […]

Jennifer Castner Describes The Altai Project

June 12th, 2015

Watch a short video of Jennifer Caster describing the work of The Altai Project.

Retreating glacier on Southern Altaisky Ridge. Photo by S. Spitsyn.

Connecting to Ukok

May 15th, 2015

Ukok is unlike any other place in the world…pristine, magical, and spectacular.

On Our Mind in May

May 15th, 2015

We all love Altai dearly, and this is why…

A Space for Artists and Entrepreneurs

April 23rd, 2015

One of the biggest challenges for artists in remote villages is being isolated from other artists, and the Center for Folk Arts and Crafts provides that connectivity necessary for business and creative success.

On Our Mind in April

April 23rd, 2015

According to Altai Republic government sources, tourism is predicted to increase by 10-12% this year over last year in the region.

An Important Film and Message

April 23rd, 2015

Our friends at Sacred Land Film Project, another Earth Island Institute project, are thrilled to announce the broadcast of this award-winning 4-film series.

Climbing up above the lake (photo by A. Rhodes)

Three Men Making a Difference

March 27th, 2015

Sergei Spitsyn, Mergen Markov, and Danil Mamyev are wonderful examples of perseverance in the face of tremendous challenge.

Reforming Poachers

March 27th, 2015

This past February, several teams totaling 25 trackers, rangers, and experts documented that these cats, one of Russia’s most endangered species, are still roaming the area.

On Our Mind in March

March 27th, 2015

Native Americans share genetic markers linking them directly back to ancient peoples who lived in the greater Altai region 20,000-25,000 years ago.

On Our Mind in February

February 19th, 2015

Because of you, we are able to distribute more support to our Altaian partners and expand our fundraising and international reach.

Lake Kindyktykul, looking toward Tyva/Mongolia (photo by A. Rhodes)

The Lake with a Belly Button

February 19th, 2015

In Altaian the name literally means “lake with a belly button “, and the lake has a small island in its center that is an important wildlife refuge for endangered waterbirds.

Traditional Altaian Fire Ceremony (photo credit T. McLeod)

Traditional Wisdom for Future Generations

February 19th, 2015

Blending nature and conservation with traditional knowledge is the goal of the AruSvaty Educational Center for Traditional Altaian Wisdom.

Climbing up above the lake (photo by A. Rhodes)

Lake Kindyktykul

February 19th, 2015

Lake Kindyktykul (“Kin-dik-tik-kool”) borders Chikhachev Ridge in southeastern Altai and is home to over 20 species of endangered birds.

Altai argali sheep skulls (photo by J. Gibbs)

January 2015 Heli Crash – Poaching Again in Kosh-Agach District?

January 28th, 2015

6 years after the 2009 argali poaching scandal, another helicopter of hunters crashes in Kosh-Agach District, accompanied by a Sailyugem National Park ranger. Article examines the background and evidence to date.

Mergen Markov (photo by F. Koopmans)

Former Poacher Receives Disney Conservation Hero Award

January 27th, 2015

The Altai Project is thrilled to announce that Altai’s newest snow leopard protector, Mergen Markov, a former poacher, has been honored with a Disney Conservation Hero Award from Disney Conservation Fund!

Aduchi Beletov

The Story of Aduchi – A Snow Leopard Encounter

January 14th, 2015

Aduchi lives with his family in the small but tidy indigenous Altaian village of Inegen on the shores of the tumultuous Argut River.

Ice formations on a river

On Our Mind

January 14th, 2015

Plans for 2015 – Pipelines, mining, raptor and snow leopard conservation, and much more!

Mergen bundled up and ready to ride out

Sergei’s report and photos from the field

January 14th, 2015

Sergei Spitsyn and his team returned from a field expedition with new snow leopard evidence, incredible photos, and the successful removal of poachers’ snares.

On Our Mind

January 6th, 2015

We at The Altai Project remain deeply concerned about potentially irreversible damage to sacred lands and complex ecosystems.

A visit with an Altaian artisan

December 1st, 2014

35+ artisans have come together in the village of Kupchegen to form a cooperative venture

Highlights from Jennifer’s Trip to Altai

October 29th, 2014

Each time I travel to Altai, the trips combine field work and office meetings, and I try to meet as many people as possible to gain new perspectives. This year was no exception.

A Conversation with Danil Mamyev

October 29th, 2014

This year The Altai Project has had the pleasure to spend time more time than usual with our partner, Danil Mamyev. He kindly agreed to answer a few questions about his work.

Why Keep Altai in the Spotlight?

October 3rd, 2014

Altai is a biological and ecological gold mine but also has deep cultural roots that sets it apart from other parts of the world. One way to think about why Altai is important is that its landscape is ecologically on par with the Amazonian rainforest, Antarctica, and other large unique ecosystems.

Community-Led Big Cat Protection – Thank You, Disney!

October 3rd, 2014

Thanks to Senior Researcher at Altaisky State Nature Reserve Sergei Spitsyn’s efforts to stop poaching and assess the population, we estimate the population has grown to 5-8 cats – a tremendous improvement!

A Note from Jennifer Castner

August 22nd, 2014

Many of you are aware of the conflict in Ukraine, Russia’s role in that conflict, and Russia’s complicated image on the global commons. You may also know that President Putin and his government are continuing to actively limit freedom of the media, freedom of association, free speech, civil rights, and undermine previously effective environmental and […]

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