News & Events

News & Events

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

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.

Abandoned rocky corrals overlooking the Ukok Plateau

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.

A rocky altar overlooking the Ukok Plateau.

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.

Two snow leopard kittens tumbling playfully on a rocky slope

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 […]

A Conversation with Don Weeden, Executive Director of the Weeden Foundation

August 21st, 2014

How did you first learn about The Altai Project? I inherited The Altai Project when I came on as Executive Director of the Weeden Foundation 12 years ago. I knew virtually nothing about Altai at that time. Upon educating myself, I was impressed with the potential for landscape-scale conservation in Altai and the availability of […]

Altai argali sheep skulls (photo by J. Gibbs)

UPDATE: Balancing Conservation and Hunting in Altai

July 10th, 2014

Russian Ministry of Natural Resources considers allowing trophy-hunting for Altai argali. In response, Altai Republic considers a ban on all sport-hunting in Altai for 2-3 years.

Russian Ministry of Natural Resources Wants to Delist Argali Sheep and Allow Trophy-hunting

July 8th, 2014

Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources will consider a highly controversial proposal to delist the Altai argali mountain sheep from Red Book protection and specifically permit trophy-hunting.

From Poacher to Protector

June 10th, 2014

In 2010, Sergei Spitsyn, director of Arkhar NGO and a senior scientist at Altaisky State Nature Reserve, pinpointed the locations of two snow leopards in the Argut River basin via sign survey and camera-trapping. In 2013, with Sergei’s leadership and expertise, The Altai Project began a radical initiative to identify and engage poachers in snow […]

Bryn Mawr Alumnae Bulletin features Jennifer Castner

March 19th, 2014

Read the article featuring our work at the link below.

Not Just Any Kittens!

December 11th, 2013

Did somebody say kittens? Snow leopard kittens? Incredible new photos!

Sponsor a Snow Leopard

November 13th, 2013

Learn more about the launch of our new Sponsor a Snow Leopard program!

Wild Altai Expedition 2013

July 19th, 2013

A sampling of images taken during our 2013 Wild Altai Expedition

First photograph of a rare snow leopard in Altai Republic, Russia

July 19th, 2013

Learn about a live snow leopard sighting during the 2013 Wild Altai Expedition.

Ukok Pipeline Update: One step forward for Ukok, one step back for sacred sites

May 30th, 2013

In May 2013, Gazprom tabled plans to build the Altai gas pipeline through 2015. At the same time, Altai Republic overturned an earlier decree protecting sacred sites.

Update on Mongol the snow leopard

April 16th, 2013

Last heard about on this website in March 2011, Mongol is in the news once again. He was captured in March 2013 in Sayano-Shushensky Nature Reserve to receive a new satellite-tracking collar and to undergo a veterinary exam and have samples collected.

First video footage of Altai snow leopards

December 5th, 2012

Our partner and snow leopard expert Sergei Spitsyn recently provided us with the first ever video footage of a snow leopard on Chikhachev Ridge in southeastern Altai Republic. Video footage of snow leopards is important not only to provide clear evidence of which snow leopards are visiting and how they behave, but it also allows […]

Prevent Poaching Today – Donate!

December 4th, 2012

Make a tax-deductible gift to keep poachers out of snow leopard habitat. We urgently need your support for patrols this winter.

New Ak-Cholushpa Nature Park gets a quick start

October 29th, 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.

Visiting Altai: Land of the Snow Leopard

September 22nd, 2012

“Land of the Snow Leopard” 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 are opportunities for wildlife viewing, diverse recreation, car camping, and cultural activities […]

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