WWF Russia press release: Snow leopard love story

Press Release Shared by WWF Russia

Photo by WWF Russia

Snow leopards named Khorgai and Guta are most likely the world’s oldest known couple of snow leopards living in the wild. Both are at least 13 years old, this is the almost maximum recorded age of the snow leopard in nature. In zoos, with enough food and in comfortable conditions, snow leopards can live up to 21 years. They met at least 10 years ago and have at least two litters of cubs together.

“WWF-Russia is confident in the age of Khorgai and Guta, we, together with our partners, have been camera trapping them since 2011-2012. Such old snow leopards are very rare in the wild. Snow leopards at the age of 13 have been recorded in the wild, for example, in Mongolia, but this is the first time a mating couple of snow leopards of this old age has been recorded. Both snow leopards live on the Chikhachev Ridge in the Altai Republic at the border with Mongolia. Being that old proves the living conditions of these snow leopards, it is an indicator of the well-being of this couple, which underlines the importance of Chikhachev Ridge, as a snow leopard habitat. This mountain bridge on the border with Mongolia allows snow leopards migrate from one country to another”, says Alexander Karnaukhov, Senior Coordinator of Altai-Sayan Branch of WWF Russia.

  • Guta, female snow leopard

Guta inhabits the Chikhachev Ridge. Camera traps have been monitoring Guta since 2012 when she was captured with cubs, which means that the female was at least 3 years old. She shares the individual sites with Khorgai, male snow leopard, so it is clear for the scientists that they are a mating couples and have litters together. Guta’s tail tip is not black like in most snow leopards, but white. It is also curved like a question mark. Her tail leaves characteristic strokes in the snow, by which Guta is easy to recognize.

  • Khorgai, male snow leopard 

Khorgai is the dominant male. He is also the likely father of the cubs born by the female named Bogusha. The first photographs of Khorgai were taken in 2011. He spends most of the year on the Altai part of the Chikhachev ridge. Without informing the border guards, without a visa, in winter, during heavy snowfalls, Khorgai migrates to Mongolia. It was Khorgai who was the first snow leopard in Altai to be filmed by camera traps in October 2011 on the Chikhachev Ridge; the snow leopard was already at least two years old. Recorded by Khorgai, a senior researcher at the Altai State Biosphere Reserve, Sergei Spitsyn, a legendary Russian researcher of snow leopards. Long-liver Khorgai has become a universal favorite of scientists and spectators. A corn-eared snow leopard, which is easily recognizable by a scar on the cheek and spots on the tail. Khorgai’s tail has a specific pattern of spots: three spots, then two spots and one spot, like symbols in Morse code. Scientists use these patterns to distinguish snow leopards from each other.

Recently each image of Khorgai and Guta is the joy for scientists. It means the snow leopards are alive and safe. The latest images of Khorgai obtained in 2021. Most likely, Khorgai has more offsprings, at least ten, including cubs in Mongolia. 

Story shared by WWF- Russia

Oct 22, 2021

Photo by WWF Russia

Call for submissions #EncounterUncia (Abstract submission extended)

Twitter Conference: Unusual Encounters with Snow Leopards

December 6-8th, 2021

Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Program (GSLEP) and Snow Leopard Network (SLN) in collaboration with Panthera, WWF and the Snow Leopard Trust will be hosting a Twitter conference on Unusual Snow Leopard Encounters.  

Encounters with snow leopards can take many forms. They can range from rare sightings of one or more snow leopards, coming across injured snow leopards or coming across cubs that may appear abandoned. It can also involve snow leopards killing livestocks in pastures and corrals. Although snow leopards are mostly elusive, these encounters do occur across the snow leopard range and at times can be very stressful for both the people and snow leopards involved. Responses can result in the loss of life or freedom for the snow leopard. Appropriate responses that minimize harm to both people and the snow leopard, and promote long-term coexistence still need to be more widely known, shared and put into practice. 

The aim of the #EncounterUncia Twitter Conference is to collate and share experiences on snow leopard unusual encounters. We also aim to discuss recommendations for handling such encounters, and strategies to mitigate negative interactions between snow leopard and people. 

Unusual encounters with wildlife occur across other habitats and continents. There is a rich body of experiences and knowledge from other species (such as common leopards, elephants, jaguars, crocodiles etc.) which we can learn from and apply to the snow leopard landscape. The Twitter Conference is open to participation from research and conservation practitioners working on both snow leopards and other species and ecosystems to facilitate cross-exchange of knowledge and practices.

Please note that the conference is centered around conservation coexistence strategies for snow leopards and is not limited to accounts of physical encounters with the big cat! We are looking forward to your abstract submissions and stories. 

Photo by Snow Leopard Trust

Call for Submissions

The deadline for abstract submissions is extended until November 22nd!

Participants can submit Applications here

The #EncounterUncia Twitter Conference can only happen with your participation and contributions! We encourage individuals and teams from across the world to share experiences and insights on Unusual Encounters of snow leopards and other species. We have 3 categories:

  • Publications outlining encounters: This section includes any published material related to information on unusual encounters (in english or other languages).  It can include policy documents on recommendations for handling unusual encounters and mitigation strategies, and peer-reviewed publications on effectiveness of mitigation strategies, and success/failures of handling of unusual encounters (such as relocation). Please provide the publication reference and an abstract of the key message/recommendation.
  • Mitigation strategies: This section includes strategies aimed at preventing unusual encounters (eg. predator proof corrals, specific herding practices, traditional practices, deterrents, grazing free zones) or minimizing/reducing risk when the encounters occur (eg. releasing individuals immediately, leaving cubs alone, not tampering with livestock carcasses). These include on-ground interventions and need not be published. This section is open to both snow leopards and other wildlife species.
  • Anecdotes on experiences: This section focuses on snow leopards and includes unpublished material and anecdotal experiences on unusual encounters since 2011. It can include but not limited to incidences of livestock depredation, abandoned cubs, encountering species in unusual habitats. This section does not focus on mitigation strategies but aims to collate stories to develop an understanding of the frequency, types and location of unusual snow leopard encounters.

Key Dates

  • Abstract Submissions October 15- November 22nd : APPLY HERE
  • Conference Dates December 6th, 7th, 8th, 2021
  • At 15:30 Bishkek time Wednesday 8th December, join us for the #EncounterUncia closing ceremony (90 minutes). It will include a live panel discussion (with speakers from the conference partners Panthera, WWF & the Snow Leopard Trust). We will also recognise “outstanding #EncounterUncia Tweet Presentations” during the awards ceremony.

FAQ

  • What is a Twitter Conference?

A Twitter Conference is a free online event (through twitter!) that brings snow leopard researchers and practitioners together from across the world from the comfort of their office/home/fieldstation. The aim is to encourage communication and collaboration amongst #conservation stakeholders around usual encounter and conflict situations.  

  • What is the hashtag?

The conference hashtag is #EncounterUncia . Please use this hashtag for any Twitter communication related to the 2021 conference. 

  • How do you participate on the day itself?

You or your organization will need a twitter account. You can sign up at https://www.twitter.com if you do not already have an account. After you have setup your account you can search for the hashtag #EncounterUncia  (Snow Leopard Encounter Twitter Conference 2021) to see all tweets that relate to the conference. You can then comment, reply, retweet or tweet using the #EncounterUncia. You can also just spectate and follow the interactions by using the hashtag.

You can register for the conference here: https://www.cognitoforms.com/IllegalWildlifeTrade1/TwitterConferenceOnUnusualEncountersWithSnowLeopards

  • How do I participate as a presenter?

The call for presenters will be open from Oct 15 to Nov 15 2021. We encourage individuals or organizations to submit abstracts to 3 themes: Relevant publications, Encounter Anecdotes or Mitigation Strategies. Please see the link here.  Once you have submitted your abstract you will be contacted by the Conference Committee. A subset of submission will be invited to present their work using your individual or organization twitter handle on December 6-8th 2021. Presentations will include 3-5 tweets related to the submission. The Conference Committee will communicate more information closer to the Conference date.   

  • Why participate?
  • Be part of the movement to bring awareness about unusual encounters and encourage stakeholders to handle encounters in a way that minimizes harm to snow leopards and people
  • Learn about the work being done across the snow leopard range to conserve this elusive species
  • 10 submissions will be selected and awarded “Outstanding” contributions. Your team has the opportunity to submit and be selected.

Module 15: Grant and report writing

The SLN training initiative is offering a final 2021 module entitle “Grant and Report Writing”. This December module was specifically requested by SLN members and we are delighted to welcome The Pallas’s cat International Conservation Alliance (PICA) to lead the session. 

Please note that this module will be a one off intensive session taking place in December- so if interested do not miss it! 

Appy here

About the course

Securing funding for conservation and research projects is never an easy process. It is highly competitive, bound by strict deadlines and often needs to follow specific requirements set by the funders. It can also be made more difficult when the focal species is lesser known, has a low threat status or when there is little reference data for the species as is often the case with Pallas’s cat (Manul). Even when projects are able to overcome the challenging application process and are successful in securing funding the work does not stop as the applicants must provide detailed reports, manage the project budget and deliver the projects objectives in line with specific timelines. When all of the above are carried out to a high standard it can lead to effective delivery of the project whilst evidencing a scientific and professional approach back to the funder, which could lead to continuation of funding and support.

The Pallas’s cat International Conservation Alliance (PICA) has experience of securing funding, report writing, managing budgets and long term delivery of grants for Pallas’s cat conservation and research. In addition to this PICA has also developed a small grant programme that provides funding and support to targeted conservation projects across the species range. Individually the PICA projects partners (Norden’s Ark, Snow Leopard Trust and RZSS) also possess a wide range of skills and experiences in the field of grant writing and reporting from decades of conservation project management across the globe.

This workshop has been developed as a tool to support conservation practitioners, researchers or students that are looking to develop their skills in grant writing and reporting. The workshop will provide tips, techniques, experiences and an open platform for targeted discussions 

Meet the Resource Team

David Barclay

is the Ex-situ Conservation Manager for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. He specializes in felid population management, animal management and conservation.

Emma Nygren

 is Head of Conservation Programs at Nordens Ark Sweden and is managing conservation programs both nationally and internationally. She is also the project manager for the Pallas’s Cat International Conservation Alliance (PICA).

Dr. Gustaf samelius

is Assistant Director of Science for the Snow Leopard Trust and is working with applied ecology and conservation of mountain ecosystems.

Dr Helen Senn

is the Head of Conservation and Science Programmes for Royal Zoological Society of Scotland where she is responsible for managing conservations work on 23 species in Scotland and around the world.

Katarzyna Ruta

is a Conservation Project Officer at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, where she supports the delivery of a variety of field-based conservation programmes

Criteria for participation

      • Confirmed availability to attend the online seminar
      • Number of participants is limited to 25
      • Priority will be given to participants from snow leopard range countries 

Planned Schedule

    • 2 hour online Zoom Seminar on Wednesday, 15th December  at 15:00 Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan time. 

Applications

    • Friday, December 3rd, 2021. Please note places are limited so please do not delay in applying.
    • Application link here

SLN Webinar: Snow leopards in the land of mountain deities

Camera trap photo by PNC

We invite you to our next SLN webinar which continues our series on different Science & Conservation perspectives around snow leopards. This webinar will take us to the Tibetan Plateau in China where we will hear from Awang, the founder of the Plateau Nature Conservancy. We will learn about how he and his team are bridging science and traditional knowledge for snow leopard conservation. LingYun, SLN’s Committee Member, will also join us as facilitator, adding insights from her work on the plateau. 

As usual our format will be a talk of 20-30 minutes followed by an interactive discussion. Awang has some remarkable images and stories to share. Please register through the link below and help us spread the word and share the news with your colleagues and those who would be interested in attending.

About the Webinar

Awang will share how the Plateau Nature Conservancy (PNC) is supporting Tibetan herders from the sacred mountain range Amney Machin at the Source of the Yellow River to carry out snow leopard camera trap surveys. He will discuss how his team is working with local herders to combine traditional ways of biodiversity conservation with the concepts of contemporary conservation and regional conservation policy. All of their work is conducted around mountains that are considered sacred in Tibetan Buddhism and around the sacred lakes at the source of the Yellow River. These sacred features of the area provide an opportunity to strengthen and protect these snow leopard landscapes. Awang’s talk will share how such traditional forms of protecting mountain areas are still playing an important role in conservation of alpine ecosystem and wildlife within it.        

Snow leopard camera trap photo by PNC. Can you see the snow leopard?
Phhoto by PNC

About our Guests

Awang is founder and director of Plateau Nature Conservancy (PNC) in China. He is a wildlife conservationist and researcher who has worked in the Tibetan Plateau for 10 years. In 2007, he joined Fauna and Flora International (FFI) and worked on several conservation initiatives including rangeland management, community-based conservation and public environmental education. In 2013, he completed his MSc at DICE, University of Kent, and majored in Biodiversity Conservation and Tourism. He is currently a member of ICCA (Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas) China and China Federation of Youth Committee.

Photo of Awang by PNC

Date/Time

Tuesday, November 16th, 2021 at 16:00-17:00 Beijing time

Location

Zoom: Register through the following link.

Please note

    • If you have never used Zoom before, we recommend that you try the link 10 minutes before the start of the lecture.
    • Please feel free to write questions in the comment area and there will be time for questions/discussion at the end of the talk.
    • Please note that the session will be recorded and later featured on the SLN website. If you have concerns about this please let us know before the session.
Camera trap photo by PNC
Photo by PNC

Women & Science

The challenges presented by the current environmental crisis require a diversity of perspectives and capacities to achieve human well-being and biodiversity outcomes that are equitable and just. However, the scientific community is still missing essential perspectives from women scientists.

There is evidence of a large and persistent gender gap across a number of levels. For example, as an indicator of representation, a 2021 study showed that women represented only 11% of the top-publishing authors in over a 1000 leading journals in ecology, evolution, and conservation between 1945 to 2019. In the most recent period (2005-2019) there is progress but slow (18% vs 13% in the 1990-2004 period). Within those figures there remains further underrepresentation of women and scientists from the Global South. The research publication gap in the snow leopard conservation community has not yet been assessed in detail. It may however be facing a similar trend. Women’s contribution to snow leopard science is broader and individuals and organizations are making efforts to empower women scientists across the snow leopard range and world.  

In this webinar we hear from women scientists who have been working on snow leopard science –  Dr. Bermet Tursunkulova, Imogene Cancellare & Dr. Manvi Sharma – and involved in work that supports women in participation and decision making. They will highlight gaps and challenges they see for women in science and discuss strategies for building scientific capacity and creating a supportive community for snow leopard researchers. Dr. Justine Shanti Alexander, the Executive Director of the Snow Leopard Network, will facilitate the panel discussion. She has been actively involved in snow leopard research and conservation for a number of years and brings further perspectives from the SLN network.

More information about the speakers can be found here.

Module 12: R语言简介 Recording

课程描述

R语言,一门强大的数据分析语言,一个极其人性化的编程环境,一种充满惊喜的工作方式。本课程面向零基础的学员,从最基本的安装开始,一步一步手把手带你进入 R 语言的精彩世界。

课程目标

通过学习本课程,学员将

  1. 在计算机上搭建 R 语言工作环境,
  2. 了解 R 语言的用途和扩展性,
  3. 熟悉 R 语言的基本用法,
  4. 初步掌握常见图形的绘制方法,

培训内容

  1. 了解用途
  • 知道R语言在科研中的用途和扩展性,
  • 了解常用扩展包,
  • 知道如何寻求帮助。
  1. 数据读写
  • 熟练掌握将常见格式的数据导入R语言环境的方法,
  • 知道如何将特殊格式的数据导入R语言环境,
  • 熟练掌握将计算结果的数据保存为常见格式。
  1. 图形绘制
  • 熟练掌握R基础包绘制常见图形(散点图、直方图、箱式图、折线图等)的方法,有能力根据研究意图任意订制图形的风格(大小、颜色、点的形状、线的类型)为图形任意添加各种元素(点、线、文字、多边形、图例、坐标轴),
  • 学习使用最流行的ggplot2包来绘制美观的常见图形,

参考书目

  • 赵鹏,李怡。学 R:零基础学习R 语言。研究出版社,北京,2018。
  • 赵鹏,谢益辉,黄湘云。现代统计图形。人民邮电出版社,北京,2021。

培训老师

赵鹏博士,西交利物浦大学助理教授,统计之都成员。毕业于北京大学(理学学士,环境科学硕士)、德国拜罗伊特大学(地理生态学博士)。曾就职于中国气象科学研究院,曾在奥地利因斯布鲁克大学和德国马克斯-普朗克研究所从事博士后研究工作。对于 R 语言应用于科学研究有10年使用经验,开发有十几个R 扩展包,CRAN 上的累计下载量超过 15 万。

 

Session 1: Introduction to Conservation Education

This session is led by Dr. Rachelle Gould, an Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont. Rachelle will start us off by exploring how conservation education is more than creating awareness, and more than information delivery. The session will discuss how the core goal of conservation education is to develop informed, active citizens who feel empowered to create change. Throughout the session the group will discuss considerations, ideas, and sample learning activities that can help to develop informed, active members of society.

Session 1.1: Introduction to Education Conservation

Session 1.2: Big Ideas and Discussion

Session 1.3: Snow Leopard Examples

Session 2: Land of the Snow Leopard Network

For this Session we have the pleasure to invite the Land of Snow Leopard (LOSL) Network. LOSL is part of a groundbreaking collaboration between western and indigenous science and has two overriding goals: reviving ancient conservation practices and creating pathways for Indigenous Cultural Practitioners to be coequal partners in research and planning for the conservation of snow leopards.

The network is striving to help the GSLEP governments understand and embrace the snow leopard’s spiritual nature and fundamental place in indigenous practices as well as to share knowledge of the spiritual and cultural importance of these cats and the imperative to embrace this knowledge in securing landscapes for their preservation. LOSL received the Disney Conservation Hero Award in 2020, recognizing local citizens for their commitment to save wildlife, protect habitats, and inspire their communities to take part in conservation efforts. The Snow Leopard Conservancy facilitates Land of Snow Leopard and provides technical and fiscal support. This Session will focus on introducing the indigenous ways of learning and teaching in snow leopard landscapes, with a special focus on two of LOSL’s programs: 1. learning from elders and 2. teaching in nomadic communities.

Session 2.1: Introduction to Land of Snow Leopard (LOSL)

Session 2.2: Aksakals and youth for the snow leopard and its habitat

Session 2.3: Snow Leopard Day in the Altai, Russia

 Session 2.4: Nomadic Nature Trunk Program for Mountain Eco-System Conservation

SLN Webinar: Women & Science

 

The challenges presented by the current environmental crisis require a diversity of perspectives and capacities to achieve human well-being and biodiversity outcomes that are equitable and just. However, the scientific community is still missing essential perspectives from women scientists.

There is evidence of a large and persistent gender gap across a number of levels. For example, as an indicator of representation, a 2021 study showed that women represented only 11% of the top-publishing authors in over a 1000 leading journals in ecology, evolution, and conservation between 1945 to 2019. In the most recent period (2005-2019) there is progress but slow (18% vs 13% in the 1990-2004 period). Within those figures there remains further underrepresentation of women and scientists from the Global South. The research publication gap in the snow leopard conservation community has not yet been assessed in detail. It may however be facing a similar trend. Women’s contribution to snow leopard science is broader and individuals and organizations are making efforts to empower women scientists across the snow leopard range and world.  

In this webinar we will be hearing from women scientists who have been working on snow leopard science –  Dr. Bermet Tursunkulova, Imogene Cancellare & Dr. Manvi Sharma – and involved in work that supports women in participation and decision making. They will highlight gaps and challenges they see for women in science and discuss strategies for building scientific capacity and creating a supportive community for snow leopard researchers. Dr. Justine Shanti Alexander, the Executive Director of the Snow Leopard Network, will facilitate the panel discussion. She has been actively involved in snow leopard research and conservation for a number of years and brings further perspectives from the SLN network.

Just to remind, this webinar is Part 2 of a Webinar Series focussing on the role of women in snow leopard conservation and science. Part 1 explores how to better engage women in conservation programs across the snow leopard landscape, taking place on Sept 21st.

About the Webinar/Workshop

Opening the webinar we first hear from the panelists, each with a five-minute presentation,   where they set the context of their work and highlight key issues. This will be followed by the panel discussion facilitated by Dr. Justine Alexander for twenty minutes. This will be followed by an open interaction with the audience. Please bring your ideas and questions with you to the

About our Guests

Dr. Bermet A. Tursunkulova

Dr. Bermet A. Tursunkulova is the Director of Development at the American University of Central Asia and Fundraising and PR Consultant for the Snow Leopard Trust. She is also Associate Professor at the International and Comparative Politics, holding PhD in Political Science from Kyrgyz-Slavonic Russian University and MA degree in International Relations and European studies from Central European University. Dr. Tursunkulova has published in East European Politics, Central Asian Survey, International Higher Education Journal and other. Her research interest focuses on transition politics, electoral politics, color revolutions and politics of globalization. 

Apart from her academic career, she has an extensive project coordination and management experience in international educational programs and successful fundraising experience for the II World Nomad Games and the Snow Leopard Trust. She is a former Deputy Minister of Education and Science, she has also served as an Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic. While advising the office of the Prime Minister she was a member of the Taza Koom Working Group to introduce digital reforms and cybersecurity in the country, including advocating for digital skills.

 Imogene Cancellare

Imogene Cancellare is a PhD Candidate at the University of Delaware, USA, working with the NGO Panthera on snow leopard genetics. Her research focuses on understanding the ecological and evolutionary patterns that impact snow leopard population connectivity range-wide. She has been involved in many US-based efforts focused on increasing capacity for women in STEM, including science communication on social media, university programs for young women in science, and published research on addressing public stereotypes of scientists.

Dr. Manvi Sharma

Dr. Manvi Sharma is a Research Associate with the Nature Conservation Foundation, India. Her research interests include behavioural ecology and population biology of predator-prey systems. She uses a diverse set of tools to understand the ecological consequences of predator-prey behaviour and movement on population dynamics and disease spread. She is currently based in Bangalore, where she also plays ultimate frisbee for her team.

Date/Time

Tuesday, September 28th, at 17:00-18:15 Bishkek time

Location

ZOOM, to join this talk,     REGISTER HERE

Please note

  • If you have never used Zoom before, we recommend that you try the link 10 minutes before the start of the lecture.
  • Please feel free to write questions in the comment area and there will be time for questions/discussion at the end of the talk.
  • Please note that the session will be recorded and later featured on the SLN website. If you have concerns about this please let us know before the session.
Cameratrap photo by SLCF & SLT