News & Events

News & Events

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

Chaga-Bayram Altaian winter new year ceremony (Photo by M. Erlenbaeva)

Altai’s Indigenous peoples – what’s in a name?

October 14th, 2021

Russia officially recognizes 47 small-numbered peoples of the North, Siberia, and Far East. Roughly 23% of the almost 147 million people living in Russia (as of 2021) are not ethnically Russian.  The government classifies Indigenous peoples living in the country in three ways: “Small-numbered peoples” (less than 50,000 individuals), “Indigenous peoples” living in the North, […]

Two snow leopard kittens tumbling playfully on a rocky slope

Snow Leopard conservation in Russia: a timeline

September 16th, 2021

The Altai Project has invested more than $210,000 in snow leopard conservation in Russia to date (largely 2010-2015, but continuing today). We pooled expertise with other international institutions involved in protecting this big cat. To expand on the saying “many hands make light work,” many hands also strengthen the work by contributing funds, scientific and […]

Snow Leopard Conservation

September 16th, 2021

The Snow leopard is endangered across its entire range in Central Asia, including in Russia. Snow leopard conservation and science are important tools in saving the species.

New! Siberia-US environmental cooperation through journalism

May 18th, 2021

Exciting news! The Altai Project is a member of a new, three-way partnership formed to share environmental justice and indigenous rights journalism with American and Russian readers and thus improve understanding of cross-cutting issues between the United States and Russia in these areas.  The partnership also involves California-based Earth Island Journal and the Vladivostok, Russia-based […]

Happy 150th birthday to Grigory Choros-Gurkin!

December 14th, 2020

For every Picasso and Rembrandt, there are many more lesser-known artists; this is the case with Grigoriy Choros-Gurkin (1870-1937). He is one of Altai’s greatest artists and most important cultural figures.  The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of Choros-Gurkin’s birth and an ideal time to draw attention to the man and his work. Regarded […]

Multiple glacier tongues leading up to craggy mountain peaks. A small brilliant turquoise lake is visible.

Conservation of the sacred Ukok Plateau

December 4th, 2020

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

Rock art depicting ungulates and humans in Mongolian Altai, near the Russian border

Altai Petroglyph Complexes in Mongolia and Russia

December 3rd, 2020

Rock art is found widely across Greater Altai. Bronze and Iron Age petroglyphs depict animals, people, and culture. The sites are fragile and in need of protection.

Four male argali sheep stand on a hillside in Altai Republic, Russia

Altai Argali wild sheep

December 2nd, 2020

Description of the Altai Argali wild sheep species, its conservation value, threats, and protection efforts.

Traditionally-dressed person doing ceremony in front of ceremonial dyalama ribbons in Altai Republic

Dyalama ribbon tying as a spiritual practice

December 2nd, 2020

Description of the practice of dyalama – tying ribbons as a spiritual practice in Greater Altai

Foreground shaman performing ceremony among a group of people in Altai, Russia

Cultural practice in Altai: tengrism, animism, and shamanism and their historical expression

December 2nd, 2020

This page introduces important concepts and traditions that are specific to Greater Altai.

Parts of the horse diagram in Altaian language

Altaian Language

December 1st, 2020

Altaian, divided into North Altaian and South Altaian is a closely-related group of Turkic languages. This article focuses on the language as spoken in Russia’s Altai Republic.

Petroglyphs in Mongolian Altai showing riders on horseback

VIDEO – Highlands of Mongolian Altai – Future UNESCO World Heritage Site?

December 1st, 2020

This 15-minute English-language video was prepared by our partners at the Foundation for the Protection of Natural and Cultural Heritage. The video shows the importance of the natural and cultural heritage of this proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site in western Mongolia.

Camel nomads walking past in Mongolian Altai

Preserving Altai Cultural & Natural Heritage

December 1st, 2020

Read about our recent initiative to protect the cultural and natural heritage of Greater Altai

Immature Steppe eagle flying over steppe grassland. Photo by Igor Karyakin.

News in the Time of COVID-19

April 9th, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is a challenging and uncertain time for humans around the globe. We are seeing the ripples of tremendous and complex impacts and changes in our homes, our communities, and around the world. The same is true in the conservation world.

Min the Steppe eagle soaring. Photo by Nirav Bhat

When an eagle runs up roaming charges

October 26th, 2019

Learn about Min the Steppe eagle who ran up a huge roaming bill for Russian researchers.

Steppe eagle with GPS tracker on its back

Altaian Raptors in Action

October 26th, 2019

Here are some images of Altai’s many different raptor species and a few other special appearances.

Three people standing in a row looking at the same distant thing with their binoculars. They are in an arid mountain valley

Ending the year on a high note

December 2nd, 2018

2018 did not go as expected. Given global politics, we had anticipated a very difficult year; instead we’ve had one of our most successful years to date.

Large solar array in the arid Chuiskaya Steppe in Altai Republic

Renewables in Altai, a look back

June 11th, 2018

Altai Republic is the only Russian region where ALL locally produced energy is produced from renewable sources!

We have a new look!

April 15th, 2018

    The Altai Project is thrilled to share a few pieces of exciting news! In honor of our 20th anniversary, we are pleased to reveal our new logo. For 20 years The Altai Project has consistently focused on preserving the indigenous culture, wildlife, and environment of this beautiful region. Our new logo represents that […]

Snow leopard making a scrape with its hind legs at a marking site

Fall 2017 Updates

October 3rd, 2017

Earlier this summer, researchers obtained camera-trap photos of a mother with three adolescent kittens at her side traversing a hillside and strengthened their knowledge of 25+ individual cats in Altai Republic! 

Altai argali sheep skulls (photo by J. Gibbs)

Altaigate. The Final Chapter. (Novaya Gazeta article)

February 20th, 2017 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 […]

Rocky meadow near a large glacial bowl on an Altai mountaintop

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.

Snow leopard near a large rock on snowy day

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.

On Our Mind in May

May 15th, 2015

We all love Altai dearly, and this is why…

Master saddlemaker doing fine handwork in his workshop. He's warmly dressed with a knit cap.

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.

Morning at camp in a grassy valley. A woman walks through a group of three tents

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.

Shaman in the rearground sprinkles milk into the fire in the foreground

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.

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