Update from our snow leopard conservation expedition to the high mountains of the Altai Republic in Central Asia (www.biosphere-expeditions.org/altai)

The view from my “front door” here at base camp is beautiful.

Front door view
Front door view

The weather isn’t playing along, however, with a lot of rain in the last 24 hours, the snow line moving to within a few hundred metres of base and the temperature dropping to 8 C. But this can change at a moment’s notice here in the mountains, so we are ever hopeful and besides it gives the English on the expedition lots to talk about 😉

Nina’s hot porridge in the morning warmed us up. We got stuck into more training with Jenny introducing us to her datasheets, camera traps, GPS, navigation, etc.

Datasheet & camera trap training session in the mess tent
Datasheet & camera trap training session in the mess tent
GPS & navigation training session
GPS & navigation training session

We tested out the camera traps on some unsupecting marmotian neighbours and the results are as enouraging as they are entertaining.

The clouds only lifted briefly in the afternoon to allow us a short drive into the neighbouring valley to get our bearings.

Word from the neighbours (herders in their yurt stations some good miles further down the valley) is still about a couple of snow leopards on Sailugyem ridge right on our doorstep. It’s enouraging to see them come over and tell us about the sighting and it’s a good sign of the trust that has been established over the years. Well done everyone over the last eight!

With that piece of news, Jenny’s plan for the moment is to concentrate on Sailugyem for the first group, as well as scout out difficult and inaccessible Chicachova ridge with a few hardcore volunteers. That plan might change at any minute though, depending on the weather, permits, leakiness of the tents, fuel supplies, whether Jenny gets hot porridge in the morning, or a million other things. By the time you read this, the plan has probably changed. Welcome to expedition life!

Update from our snow leopard conservation expedition to the high mountains of the Altai Republic in Central Asia

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