Altai Republic residents will become guides along the “Land of the Snow Leopard” route, Russia
16 Sep 2010

16 Altai Republic residents will become guides along the “Land of the Snow Leopard” route

In Altai Republic 16 local residents were trained in ecotourism for work as tourist guides along the Land of the Snow Leopard route. Tatyana Ivanitskaya, Press Secretary for the WWF’s Altai-Sayan project.

Participants learned new applied skills during the training, traveling practice routes along the Sailyugem and southern Chuisky Ridges, Dzhumalinsky Springs, Karagem Breach, and the Argut River. Upon finishing the course, participants will submit independently developed routes for evaluation. If approved, those routes will become part of the planned transboundary “Land of the Snow Leopard” route.

“These freshly minted guides – residents of Bel’tir, Mukhor-Tarkhata, Dzhazator and Argut located in close proximity to the main areas of snow leopard and argali habitation in Altai. The residents of these villages have been hunters since time immemorial. Because of a lack of steady work and the need to feed their families, some of them become poachers,” said Mikhail Paltsyn, WWF Project Coordinator. “We are confident that the opportunity to earn a regular annual income from tourism will reduce poaching among local residents, and the idea behind the Land of the Snow Leopard routes is to allow people to see animals in the wild. In this way, protecting fauna will ensure financial well-being.”

Similar ecotourism has been successfully created in India, where snow leopard can also be found. Local residents host tourists in their homes, accompanying them on one- and two-day tours with the goal of seeing animals in nature.

Another piece on this from the UNDP/GEF site:

[another article on the same subject as above, with different details,
excerpts only]


Eco-routes developed by “Irbis”and “Arkhar”

The short term vocational training program for guides was developed and conducted by experienced instructors from Gorno-Altaisk State University, Olga Shvakova and Tatyana Zyablitskaya, who are participating in a second year of this project led by the Fund for Sustainable Development of Altai. The protected areas development training program was specially developed within the framework of the Center for Training Protected Area Specialists. 16 participants were divided into five small groups, where they developed the aforementioned routes from Tarkhatinskoye Lake and Dzhumalinsky Springs down to the village of Dzhazator and another two days on horseback along the Argut River to the confluence of the Karakem River. Along the way, participants were divided into two groups (Irbis and Arkhar) and practiced good horse and people management along the trail, how to teach, guide and operate horseback tours, keeping on schedule, calculating distances and time management. The field experience strengthened their learning and facilitated the final development of the tour routes.

….Over the last fours years, 58 participants have completed the guide training program financed by the UNDP/GEF program. Of those, 8 excellent students participated in short-term internships in foreign protected areas. Another 16 guides can be added to this total as of September 2010.

Translation courtesy of Jennifer Castner, The Altai Project.

Note: UNDP/GEF, FSDA, Altai Assistance Project and The Altai Project were also involved in this project.

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