News & Events

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

“Progress” rocket crashes in northern Altai Republic [2011]

Wednesday, Aug 25, 2011, an unmanned Progress rocket crashed in southern Choysky District in northern Altai Republic, about half the distance between Gorno-Altaisk and the western tip of Lake Teletskoye. Originally destined for the International Space Station, the rocket mysteriously failed about 5 minutes after launch.

Snow Leopard Conservation [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.

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

The Lake with a Belly Button [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.

Wild Altai Expedition 2013

A sampling of images taken during our 2013 Wild Altai Expedition

Wrongful snow leopard capture in Krasnoyarsk! [2011]

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…

Large solar array in the arid Chuiskaya Steppe in Altai Republic

Renewables in Altai, a look back [2018]

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

Two snow leopard kittens tumbling playfully on a rocky slope

Snow Leopard conservation in Russia 2002-2021

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…

First photograph of a rare snow leopard in Altai Republic, Russia [2013]

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

Altai argali sheep skulls (photo by J. Gibbs)

UPDATE: Balancing Conservation and Hunting in Altai [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.

Baby ibex checking out our cameratrap

Camera-trapping along the Argut River – 2010

In 2010, a local team returned from an expedition along the lower and middle Argut River. With the participation of residents from the nearby village of Inegen, they set camera traps in likely locations to learn more about what animals still inhabit the area. The camera traps are part of a larger project funded by…

Biologists from the US and Spain Count Sheep in Altai [2011]

In August 2011, The Altai Project sent a team of two wildlife ecologists and three graduate students from the US to Altai to join an international survey of argali mountain sheep.

2015 Field report and photos

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 in May 2015

We all love Altai dearly, and this is why…

Visit with an Altaian artisan [2014]

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

Altaigate: “Not guilty” verdict in ’09 helicopter poaching incident [2011]

The cynical among us would say it’s a surprise the case was even filed, let alone went to trial and 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…

Why Keep Altai in the Spotlight? [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 in 2014 – Thank You, Disney!

The snow leopard population in Argut has been declining over the years. It is thought that the area can sustain more than 20 leopards, but in the 80s and 90s, poaching almost completely extirpated the big cat. When conservation efforts began in 2010, there were perhaps only 3-6 cats. Thanks almost entirely to Altaisky State…

Not Just Any Kittens! [2013]

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

Lake Kindyktykul [2015]

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

Russian Ministry of Natural Resources seeks to de-list Argali sheep and allow trophy-hunting [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.

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

Conservation of the sacred Ukok Plateau [2020]

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

Studying Snow Leopards in Argut and around Altai – 2011

In 2010 Panthera awarded 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…

First video footage of Altai snow leopards [2012]

In 2012 our partner and snow leopard expert 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 scientists…

Happy 150th birthday to Grigory Choros-Gurkin! [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…

Bryn Mawr Alumnae Bulletin features Jennifer Castner

Read the article featuring our work at the link below.

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