Protecting Snow Leopards in the Western Altai Mountains
Mongolia is home to iconic species like the snow leopard. Sixty percent of the world’s wildlife was lost in the last 45 years, which is why The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is dedicated to protecting lands so wildlife populations have room to thrive. We take a holistic approach to conserving species including working with local communities.
In Khovd Province in western Mongolia—one of five “green provinces” in the country—TNC is working in the Altai mountain ranges of Bumbat Khairkan and Sutai Khairkhan to demonstrate a protected area management approach that supports the values that ecosystems provide to people as well as to wildlife, including rare species such as snow leopards, argali, saiga antelope and goitered gazelle.
For example, we’re helping local herders develop a rangeland management program that addresses overgrazing and inefficient water use. And, we worked with local partners to place 46 camera traps to help identify areas where endangered snow leopards congregate in higher densities. In August 2016, we “caught” our first elusive snow leopards on film!
In western Mongolia’s Sutai Mountains, TNC scientists are collaring snow leopards to better understand when and how they interact with local herders’ goats and sheep. These data will help design grazing plans that keep both leopards and livestock safe.
Our collaring work helped a three-legged snow leopard named Shuurga. Read his story and watch video footage of him.