WWF Russia and WWF Mongolia, on International snow leopard day, confirm the first evidence of the snow leopard’s presence in Mongolia on the Munku-Sardyk mountain near border with Russia.

Media Release
23 October


Snow leopards registered for the first time in the transboundary area of Russia and Mongolia on Mongolian side of the Eastern Sayan mountains.
WWF received the first evidence of the snow leopard’s presence in Mongolia on the Munku-Sardyk mountain, the highest peak of Eastern Sayan.
WWF Russia and WWF-Mongolia received the first ever video and photo-confirmation that snow leopards inhabit the Mongolian side of the Ikh Sayan ridge in Khuvsgul aimag (province). There are two snow leopards captured by camera in Ikh Sayan ridge in Mongolian side. Both individuals were confirmed by WWF Russia and WWF-Mongolia experts as well-known males that WWF has been following for ages on a Russian side of the ridge. 
“The video and photo confirmation of the snow leopards migrating from Russia to Mongolia and back is extremely important. It proves the importance to collaboration between both countries on scientific and governmental level to save the globally endangered species like snow leopard. The Eastern Sayan population of snow leopards in the transboundary zone of Russia and Mongolia is the only population, which portion in Mongolia totally depends on Russian animals, it’s a very isolated snow leopard population from a core snow leopard habitat”, says Alexander Karnaukhov, Senior Coordinator of Altai-Sayan Branch of WWF Russia.
One of the snow leopards registered on Mongolian side of the ridge by cameras turned out to be “Russian” individual that WWF Russia has been observing for years. It’s a male called Munko after the name of Munku-Sardyk (Mong. Munkh Saridag) mountain ridge the individual inhabits, the border area between Russia and Mongolia. This year Munko was the first snow leopard in Russia whose mating call was recorded by WWF. Munko is a strong dominant male in his area. Another one is a snow leopard male called Champion (named by local people after the local sports champion).
Assessment of current status and identification of snow leopards in the Russian-Mongolian border areas is implemented within the frames of the Project “Transboundary cooperation on the conservation of Amur tigers, Amur leopards and Snow leopards in North-East Asia” funded by North-East Asian Subregional Programme for Environmental Cooperation (NEASPEC) in Russia. It is also implemented within the Nationwide Snow leopard population assessment in Mongolia funded by WWF-Netherlands, WWF-Germany and WWF-US.
“Mongolia and Russian joint monitoring of the transboundary snow leopard population has provided great news for us. We have a confirmation of the regular border crossing of snow leopards. Munkh Saridag mountain ridge, where Munko is recorded, is the very east-northern known distribution of Snow leopard in the world. Research is a joint success of the Ulaan Taiga and Khuvsgul Protected Area Administrations, supported by WWF-Mongolia from Mongolian side and Asia Irbis NGO supported by WWF Russia from Russian side. The monitoring work will continue for the sake of these isolated snow leopard population’s well-being in the future. Thus, WWF-Mongolia and WWF-Russia along with their respective partners from protected areas are starting to cooperate to maintain such transboundary snow leopard populations”, says Ph.D. Gantulga Bayandonoi, Species Officer at WWF-Mongolia. 
The joint study in two countries is expected to obtain the reliable data on the current status of snow leopards so that priority action plans to conserve the species could be developed based on scientific data. The results will be announced in 2021.
Tatiana Ivanitskaya| tivanitskaya@wwf.ru | +7 906 971 88 10 

WWF Russia.



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