Kyrgyz Republic to establish first wildlife corridors to help snow leopards

The Kyrgyz Republic has announced plans to set up its first ever wildlife corridors to help the movement of migratory animals. The announcement was made at the start of a two-day conference on the conservation of the snow leopard. Officials also announced plans to boost the infrastructure needed to improve eco-tourism in the country.

The 2 day conference of the Global Snow Leopard Conservation Forum began yesterday in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. officials from the 12 snow leopard host states are convening to put in place a 7 year strategy to help conserve one of the world’s most endangered species.

The 12  snow leopard range countries are:

  • Afghanistan,
  • Bhutan,
  • China,
  • India,
  • Kazakhstan,
  • Kyrgystan,
  • Mongolia,
  • Nepal,
  • Pakistan,
  • Russia,
  • Tajikistan, and
  • Uzbekistan.

 The new wildlife corridors are to be established in the Central Tien Shan mountains region and in addition a new nature reserve will also be created. The proposed  Khan Tengri Nature Park will cover an area of 187,000 hectares.

The budget for the new wildlife park and corridors has been estimated at $5 million.

As well as investment in the natural environment of the Central Tien Shan mountains region the country also aims to promote ecotourism to the area to help the local residents benefit from the natural wealth.

Director of the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) in the Kyrgyz Republic Tolkunbek Asykulov explained, “Within the project we are going to formulate an integrated management system of specially protected areas in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The project will make a contribution to climate, biodiversity and rare wild animals (snow leopard, bear and wild ram) conservation and will improve living conditions of local population and will regulate pasture management in the Kyrgyz Republic. Besides, it is aimed at promotion of ecological tourism and tourism, which is based on local communities. Walking routes will be developed, guest houses will be opened. Tourist product will be informed and promoted,”

A budget of $1.15 million has been set aside to fund the eco-tourism programme with part of the funding coming from Germany.

It is thought that there are between 4500 and 7500 wild snow leopards living across the central Asia region. China has the largest population of snow leopards with up to 2500 of the cats living in its mountains. Mongolia is thought to have the second largest population with up to 1000 individuals. The Kyrgyz Republic is thought to have up to 500 individual cats living in its mountains.

External sites:

Global Snow Leopard Conservation Forum.

IUCN Red List: Snow Leopard.

Photo credits:

Snow leopard in the San Diego Zoo (USA) by Aaron Logan

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