News & Events

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

Update on Mongol the snow leopard

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

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!

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

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

“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…

Altai Republic officials approve pipeline construction despite legal questions

Altai Republic takes several steps to push the Altai pipeline project ahead despite the absence of a signed agreement between Russia and China and many questions concerning the legality of these moves. Click to read more of this update.

Pipeline Update: UNESCO leaves Altai with concerns

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee sent a delegation to Altai Republic to express its concern about the Altai Gas Pipeline. Although Russia and China are still negotiating to set the price of the pipeline’s natural gas, the Save Ukok Coalition remains deeply concerned about this environmentally dangerous and economically unjustified project.

Biologists from the US and Spain Count Sheep in Altai

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.

Snow Leopards caught on camera on Altai Republic’s Chikhacheva Ridge

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.

Photo Travel Diary – Altai Sept-Oct 2011

Travel along with Jennifer to a beautiful autumn in Altai, where she attended Sosnovka (an important strategy meeting for Siberian and Far Eastern activists), visited the Karakol Valley and climbed to Uch Enmek’s final peak on horseback, and attended meeting while enjoying Gorno-Altaisk and Barnaul culture and scenery.

Altai Protected Areas News

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.

September 2011 Pipeline Update

Local sources report on the alarming work being done by Gazprom along the proposed pipeline’s route, all taking place without a signed agreement between Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corporation.

“Progress” rocket crashes in northern Altai Republic – Updated

Wednesday, Aug 25, 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.

Looking toward snowy, cloud-covered mountains across a verdant valley with purple flower stalks in the foreground

Russian Media Takes Note of “Keeping Pipelines Off Ukok” Campaign

Here is a translation of a piece by Russia’s REGNUM news agency covering the “Keeping Pipelines Off Ukok” campaign. It’s great that the Russian media coverage is fairly nuanced at this point.  On the Listok site (an Altai-based media outlet), the article’s commenters are pretty balanced, although the article’s only recently been posted. http://www.regnum.ru/news/russia/1434719.html http://www.listock.ru/18211…

Using Technology to Stop Poachers

Electronics hobbyists team up with SUNY-ESF and TAP to develop and implement technology which may significantly improve anti-poaching efforts. Sean Burnett and Greg Carney have just returned from Altai where they successfully deployed innovative “poacher detectors”.

Snow Leopard Day

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 the WWF-Altai-Sayan, Foundation for…

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

Pipeline reprieve & other goings-on

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,…

Studying Snow Leopards in Argut and around Altai

In 2010 Panthera gave 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 support from…

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

There is the perspective that it’s a surprise the case was even filed, let alone went to trial 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 endangered animals…

Act now to save the Ukok Plateau

Last week The Moscow Times quoted a federal official saying that Russia and China would likely ink a deal on the Altai Gas Pipeline in June at the upcoming St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. The 2600-km pipeline would stretch through sensitive landscapes and communities in Altai Republic and then cross the Ukok Plateau into China…

Article: Putin’s animal antics questioned in Russia

It’s encouraging that the Mongol story is getting such enduring and useful coverage! Putin’s animal antics questioned in Russia By Maria Antonova (AFP) March 24, 2011 MOSCOW — “There’s a good kitty, a pretty kitty,” Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was shown by state media telling snow leopard last weekend, who stared back at him, covered in…

Background on Mongol

Just for the sake of having all the information here in one place, here is a translation of Severtsov Institute’s March 20 press release. Captured snow leopard known as Mongol returned to his home territory in Sayano-Shushensky Zapovednik Severtsov Institute PEE The first snow leopard ever to be captured and equipped with a satellite-tracking collar…

Mongol is free!

Mongol was released on Saturday March 19 at the site of his capture in Sayano-Shushensky Zapovednik, on the shore of the reservoir. Despite assertions by Putin’s press office to the contrary just hours earlier, the Prime Minister dropped in to visit Mongol at his enclosure in Khakassiya. In total, Mongol was held captive for almost…

Putin meets Mongol in Khakassiya

No update about Mongol’s status unfortunately. Clearly there is a LOT of back-pedaling and damage control going on in a lot of places behind the scenes. UNDP/GEF took down its original piece from their site. No new info on the WWF-Russia or Severtsov Institute websites. In the translated article below, we learn that Putin did in fact…

Gazeta.ru: Scandal brewing around Mongol’s imprisonment

Here a translation of a great article by Gazeta.ru. Clearly, the situation is unraveling as the scandal brews. Mysterious Rendezvous They caught a snow leopard for the prime minister 18.03.11 22:02 By Polina Nikol’skaya, Konstantin Kuzinsky (Krasnoyarsk) In Krasnoyarsk Krai they caught a snow leopard, but instead of fitting this rare animal with a satellite-tracking…

Press Release on Mongol from Severtsov Institute

Visiting the Severtsev Institute’s website just now and we came across this status report on Mongol, dated 3/18/2011. Further browsing shows that on March 15, 2011 Severtsev Institute signed a 4-way research/monitoring agreement with Sayano-Shushensky, Khakassky, and Ubsunurskaya Kotlovina Zapovedniks. Research/study methods are described as “capture and fitting with satellite collars, photographic identification, non-invasive DNA…

WWF press release regarding Mongol the snow leopard

Read the article below for the details of the snow leopard’s illegitimate capture on 3/14 in the Altai-Sayan region. We are told that he will be released and (we hope) returned to Sayano-Shushensky Zapovednik on March 20. Some in Altai speculate that this will be another media stunt involving Putin personally fitting the radiocollar, as…

Update on Mongol the Snow Leopard

TAP’s sources in the region are telling us that Mongol was transported to Khakassky Biosphere Reserve for a particular reason. The sources predict that Putin, in his continuing quest for ever greater media exposure, will place the radiocollar on the snow leopard himself. After that, it is expected that Mongol will be released on/about March…

Wrongful snow leopard capture in Krasnoyarsk!

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…

Save Ukok Coalition

As the proposed Altai Gas Pipeline to China across Altai’s Ukok Plateau looks increasingly likely, a new coalition of Russian, Altaian, and international community groups and scientists has been established! Here’s a press release with all the initial details. Stay tuned for more news about the Coalition’s efforts. Press Release On January 22, the inter-regional…

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