From our snow leopard volunteering expedition in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan (http://www.biosphere-expeditions.org/tienshan)

Well, time flies and group 2 has ended. With everyone’s help, we packed the entire camp into our truck as we are going to move it further east. So group 3, be prepared for being trailblazers once more. Group 2, meanwhile, has returned to Bishkek and we now have a week off to reorg and regroup.

Unfortunately the weather changed earlier in the week and prevented a second ‘overnighter’. Nevertheless we are happy to announce another remarkable finding: on Thursday a large team decided to explore a hitherto unresearched area – the long and deep Ala Archa valley (west of our “home” valley). As it is not accessible by car, we had to spend hours walking to the higher parts of the valley at its end. At a confluence of two streams, the team split up into two. At the end of the day group one reported sightings of ibex, group two of argali! This is even more remarkable because we have been told consistently by herders that there are no argali left in this area.

argali1

The landscape was something else too and Ala Archa valley has been officially declared the most beautiful valley we’ve seen so far. So there are a multitude of reasons to come back: wildlife, landscape and finding places for camera traps.

Ala_archa

All in all we have covered about 35 cells now. Highlights so far are sightings of argali, Himalayan snow cock, several groups of ibex and clear tracks of a Pallas’s cat.

Thank you everyone on group 2 for your efforts. Yes, we are still at the very beginning of a new project. There is much more to learn about the area, but you have helped enormously to add more pieces to the puzzle.

Finally, a piece of advice for everyone yet to come: if your luggage does not arrive with you, please try, with the help of your hotel, to obtain it before (!) we meet at the assembly point.

Looking forward to meeting group 3 in a week.

From our snow leopard volunteering expedition in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan 

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