News & Events
Stay up to date on what’s happening in Altai and at The Altai Project.
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 […]
June 10th came and went in Russia without a signed deal for the proposed Altai Gas Pipeline. Following a month of optimistic Gazprom and government announcements saying the deal would be finalized by today, this past week saw fairly diverse coverage of the issue, with some sources saying it was a sure deal, some naysayers, […]
In 2010 Panthera gave a generous conservation research grant to SUNY-ESF’s James Gibbs to support the first high-tech snow leopard research in Altai Republic. The grant provided for the purchase of camera traps and supported expedition time to study the snow leopard population in the Argut River watershed. This, in combination with financial and material support from […]
There is the perspective that it’s a surprise the case was even filed, let alone went to trial reached a verdict. Russian officials cleared of poaching charges 23 May 2011 KOSH-AGACH (Altai Republic), May 23 (RIA Novosti) A court in southern Siberia’s Altai Republic on Monday acquitted three high-ranking officials whose hunting of endangered animals […]
Last week The Moscow Times quoted a federal official saying that Russia and China would likely ink a deal on the Altai Gas Pipeline in June at the upcoming St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. The 2600-km pipeline would stretch through sensitive landscapes and communities in Altai Republic and then cross the Ukok Plateau into China […]
It’s encouraging that the Mongol story is getting such enduring and useful coverage! Putin’s animal antics questioned in Russia By Maria Antonova (AFP) March 24, 2011 MOSCOW — “There’s a good kitty, a pretty kitty,” Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was shown by state media telling snow leopard last weekend, who stared back at him, covered in […]
Just for the sake of having all the information here in one place, here is a translation of Severtsov Institute’s March 20 press release. Captured snow leopard known as Mongol returned to his home territory in Sayano-Shushensky Zapovednik Severtsov Institute PEE The first snow leopard ever to be captured and equipped with a satellite-tracking collar […]
Mongol was released on Saturday March 19 at the site of his capture in Sayano-Shushensky Zapovednik, on the shore of the reservoir. Despite assertions by Putin’s press office to the contrary just hours earlier, the Prime Minister dropped in to visit Mongol at his enclosure in Khakassiya. In total, Mongol was held captive for almost […]
No update about Mongol’s status unfortunately. Clearly there is a LOT of back-pedaling and damage control going on in a lot of places behind the scenes. UNDP/GEF took down its original piece from their site. No new info on the WWF-Russia or Severtsov Institute websites. In the translated article below, we learn that Putin did in fact […]
Here a translation of a great article by Gazeta.ru. Clearly, the situation is unraveling as the scandal brews. Mysterious Rendezvous They caught a snow leopard for the prime minister 18.03.11 22:02 By Polina Nikol’skaya, Konstantin Kuzinsky (Krasnoyarsk) In Krasnoyarsk Krai they caught a snow leopard, but instead of fitting this rare animal with a satellite-tracking […]
Visiting the Severtsev Institute’s website just now and we came across this status report on Mongol, dated 3/18/2011. Further browsing shows that on March 15, 2011 Severtsev Institute signed a 4-way research/monitoring agreement with Sayano-Shushensky, Khakassky, and Ubsunurskaya Kotlovina Zapovedniks. Research/study methods are described as “capture and fitting with satellite collars, photographic identification, non-invasive DNA […]
Read the article below for the details of the snow leopard’s illegitimate capture on 3/14 in the Altai-Sayan region. We are told that he will be released and (we hope) returned to Sayano-Shushensky Zapovednik on March 20. Some in Altai speculate that this will be another media stunt involving Putin personally fitting the radiocollar, as […]
TAP’s sources in the region are telling us that Mongol was transported to Khakassky Biosphere Reserve for a particular reason. The sources predict that Putin, in his continuing quest for ever greater media exposure, will place the radiocollar on the snow leopard himself. After that, it is expected that Mongol will be released on/about March […]
UNDP/GEF Altai-Sayan Program posted this commentary on their website regarding the not-too-distant Krasnoyarsk Krai cat-napping of a snow leopard for supposed research purposes, because the very same thing could easily have happened to Altai Republic’s snow leopards. We are working with people on the ground in Altai Republic to find out how the international community […]
As the proposed Altai Gas Pipeline to China across Altai’s Ukok Plateau looks increasingly likely, a new coalition of Russian, Altaian, and international community groups and scientists has been established! Here’s a press release with all the initial details. Stay tuned for more news about the Coalition’s efforts. Press Release On January 22, the inter-regional […]
Sergei Mikhailov has been VERY outspoken in his criticisms of corruption and the government’s handling of the January 2009 helicopter crash in Altai. The government, Berdnikov in particular, is not happy.
I took this picture in 2005. We were on a long road trip, making site visits with partners, and this picture was taken somewhere in eastern Altai Krai. The sign says “Tire Repair…Balancing.” Horses are an essential mode of transportation across much of Siberia. In Altai, the landscape is often remote and mountainous, and there […]
I haven’t had the resources to write much in recent weeks, so I thought I’d share one of Vladimir Ryzhkov’s recent commentaries on Altai. Here he writes of life in the Chulyshman Valley – one of the places I had really been hoping to visit in my July trip, but was unable to get there because […]
Sergei Spitsyn, a long-time partner and ranger at Altaisky Strict Nature Reserve, just returned from an expedition along the lower and middle Argut River. With the participation of two residents from the nearby village of Inegen, he had set camera traps in likely locations to learn more about what animals still inhabit the area. The […]
The morning started off overcast, but settled on partly sunny during breakfast. Seven of us set out from Yailyu for a 6 kilometer hike to the top of the nearest ridge. We were accompanied by two rangers, one armed with a rifle to protect us from bears. Yailyu villages and zapovednik staff have a complicated […]
Lake Teletskoye is the largest lake in Altai Republic (easily). It is a rift lake, created by seismic forces. That’s obvious when you see it, because there are cliffs along parts of the shoreline, and 90% of the shoreline we’ve seen so far is very, very steep. It is very deep, and its waters (mostly glacial […]
I can hardly believe that this trip is going by so quickly! Must be all the sleep I’m getting now that the jet lag has passed. Well, that and the fact that we’ve been covering so much ground and meeting so many interesting people. After a breakfast of noodle cooked in slightly sweet (powdered) milk […]
In the ail this morning we all shared a last breakfast consisting of buckwheat kasha, chunks of beef in a gravy, bread, butter, freshly harvested honey, and tea. It has been a very meat and bread-product intensive few days. Make that a week at least. I like my meat, but beef or lamb thrice daily […]
It rained softly on the yurt’s roof all night long, and luckily I didn’t notice the small, quiet drip onto the foot of my bed until morning. After breakfast, we piled into the Gazelle van and slip and skidded in the mud back to the main packed gravel road. Danil led us on a tour […]
After breakfast and a few goodbyes on the morning of the 27th, we set forth on the first leg of our “West-East Transect” excursion. Our group of twelve (nine visitors and an interpreter, leader, and driver) piled into a Gazelle – the equivalent of a large American minivan, but without the comforts. This vehicle was […]
After breakfast yesterday, we all piled into the bus and drove 20 minutes east down the valley, crossing over the Katun River and into the village of Verkhniy Uimon (oo-ee-mon’). I’ve been here several times, but it’s always worth another visit. It was settled 300-odd years ago by Russian Orthodox “Old Believers” fleeing repression in […]
Yesterday’s meetings did indeed devolve into discussions, but I missed almost all of it. Well, with the exception of an early brainstorming session about determining the geography of climate change adaptation and a “mega-corridor” for wildlife. Considering that we were discussing the Altai-Sayan ecoregion here in south-central Russia, western Mongolia, China’s Xinjiang Province, and far […]
During an overly technical set of presentations yesterday afternoon, I took the opportunity to slip out for a walk and talk with a colleague. We set out on the rickety wire suspension footbridge across the Koksa River adjacent to our hotel. I’ve never been fond of these sorts of bridges, the way they bounce and […]
When I reach Altai following the visa debacle, the actual work of the trip begins. In overview, my trip has a number of phases and goals. Overall, I am hoping to meet with as many conservation folk as I can, renewing contact with existing colleagues and cultivating new relationships as well. The first part of […]
Illegal Hunting Case Reopened After Huff 12 November 2009, By Maria Antonova Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin reopened an investigation Wednesday into whether charges should be filed against survivors of a party of government officials who were illegally hunting endangered sheep when their helicopter crashed in January. Bastrykin’s announcement came as an outcry grew over his […]
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