News & Events

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

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

On Our Mind in April

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

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.

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

Reforming Poachers

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

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.

On Our Mind in February

Because of you, we are able to distribute more support to our Altaian partners and expand our fundraising and international reach.

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

The Lake with a Belly Button

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

We at The Altai Project remain deeply concerned about potentially irreversible damage to sacred lands and complex ecosystems.

A visit with an Altaian artisan

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

Highlights from Jennifer’s Trip to Altai

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

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?

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the article featuring our work at the link below.

Not Just Any Kittens!

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

Sponsor a Snow Leopard

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

Wild Altai Expedition 2013

A sampling of images taken during our 2013 Wild Altai Expedition

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

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

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

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

Help support Altai’s nature and people.

Donate Generously

Help grassroots conservation efforts in Altai, Altaian indigenous peoples, public education and outreach in Altai and abroad, and efforts to protect sacred sites and cultural monuments.

Connect on Facebook

Join our Facebook Cause to stay connected with The Altai Project and follow our work. Tell your friends about the beauty of Altai and our efforts to protect it

Volunteer With Us

Contact us to learn more. We are often able to develop rewarding internships and volunteer projects for enthusiastic and independent-minded volunteers.

Subscribe to Our Mailing List!