News & Events

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

Moscow Times: Prosecutors Investigate Altai Hunt [2009]

Prosecutors Investigate Altai Hunt 06 May 2009/The Moscow Times Prosecutors said Tuesday that they have opened an investigation into senior federal and regional officials purportedly hunting illegally from a helicopter in January when the aircraft crashed in the Altai region, killing seven. The four survivors of the Jan. 9 crash, in which the Kremlin’s envoy…

Rosprirodnadzor finally acts on the helicopter crash…sort of [2009]

It looks like we finally have a bit of action by the federal government on the helicopter crash/poaching incident, albeit not all we could have hoped for. I don’t have time for lengthy exact translation today – maybe the Moscow Times will help us out overnight. Quick rundown/rough translation of the first article below my…

Eastern imperial eagle (photo by I. Karyakin)

Wind power and raptors [2022]

The connection between wind power and raptors is surprisingly complex. Wind power generation stations, or “farms”, offer renewable, low-pollution energy and are an important tool for combating the climate crisis.  However, these wind farms have a number of environmental consequences, including killing an estimated 681,000 birds/year in the United States alone in 2021. Given the…

Looking toward snowy, cloud-covered mountains across a verdant valley crossed by river

Pipeline reprieve & other goings-on [2011]

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,…

Interesting op-ed on ethnic autonomies in Russia [2009]

Existing Federal System Said a Threat to Rights of All Russia’s Citizens 05 May 2009 By Paul Goble / Special to The Moscow Times The existing system of ethnic autonomies in the Russian Federation — including both republics, such as Tatarstan, and autonomous districts, such as Chukotka — “violates the civil rights” of all Russian…

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

Dyalama ribbon tying as a spiritual practice [2020]

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

Cultural practices in Altai [2020]

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

Standing on Sacred Ground [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.

New Ak-Cholushpa Nature Park gets a quick start [2012]

Newly-formed Ak-Cholushpa Nature Park on the southern shores of Lake Teletskoye has received a start-up grant from the UNDP’s Altai Sayan climate change program.

Snow leopard near a large rock on snowy day

New Snow Leopard Video Footage! [2015]

This just in from the field, specifically on Chikhacheva Ridge, 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, but she brought her kittens (born ~May 2013?) with her.…

Warmly dressed man looking through binoculars over a snow-covered forested river valley

Reforming Poachers [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 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.

Preserving Altai Cultural & Natural Heritage [2020]

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

Illegal hunting case reopened after huff [2010]

Illegal Hunting Case Reopened After Huff The Moscow Times, 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…

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

Altai Petroglyph Complexes in Mongolia and Russia [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.

Min the Steppe eagle soaring. Photo by Nirav Bhat

When an eagle runs up roaming charges [2019]

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

Altai argali sheep skulls (photo by J. Gibbs)

2015 Helicopter crash – poaching again in Kosh-Agach District?

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.

Snow Leopard Day 2011

  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 regional, national, and…

Visiting Altai: Land of the Snow Leopard [2023]

Not just a pretty name and or a branding strategy, the “Land of the Snow Leopard” name describes a tourist travel route with waypoints in the Argut River valley and along the Sailyugem Ridge in Altai Republic, Mongun-Taiga Mountain and Tsagan-Shibetu Ridge in Tyva Republic, and snow leopard and argali habitat in Mongolian Altai. There…

Using libel laws to suppress dissent in Altai [2010]

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.

Rocky meadow near a large glacial bowl on an Altai mountaintop

What is new in 2016?

An update on The Altai Project and conservation in Altai.

Parts of the horse diagram in Altaian language

Altaian Language [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? [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.

Altai Protected Areas News [2011]

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.

Altai argali sheep skulls (photo by J. Gibbs)

Altaigate. The Final Chapter. (Novaya Gazeta article) [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…

Snow Leopards caught on camera on Altai Republic’s Chikhacheva Ridge [2011]

Participants in an expedition sponsored jointly by Arkhar and Altaisky State Biosphere Reserve have obtained the first images of snow leopard and manul (Pallas) cat on the Russian side of Altai Republic’s Chikhacheva Ridge using camera traps.

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

Covid-19 news in Altai [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.

part of Old Chuisky Tract

Chuisky Tract – Altai’s Path of Ancestors [2022]

Every visitor to Altai Republic travels this storied road, a piece of the region’s cultural heritage. Largely a 2-lane highway, Chuisky Tract stretches 963 km (598 miles) from Novosibirsk to Russia’s border with Mongolia, snaking across Altai Krai and Altai Republic and on into Mongolia. In 2019 the Russian edition of “National Geographic Traveler” included…

Vladimir Ryzhkov on Altai [2010]

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 [this one from The Moscow Times] 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,…

Altai Pipeline: One step forward for Ukok, one step back for sacred sites [2013 & 2022]

Despite eliminating the Altai route in 2013, threats to Ukok Plateau remain. Gazprom continues to negotiate and plan an eastern pipeline route.

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