SLN Steering Committee member Alexander Esipov receives the Freeman Award for Snow Leopard Conservation from the Snow Leopard Trust.

Snow Leopard Trust announces recipient of the annual


Freeman Award for Snow Leopard Conservation


Each year the Snow Leopard Trust and the family of Helen Freeman select one person to receive the Freeman Award for Snow Leopard Conservation.  The selection is based on the person’s commitment and contributions to conserving snow leopards in the wild.  The award carries with it a $1,000 USD prize.  This is only the second year the prize has been awarded, the first Freeman Award having gone to A. Bayarjargal of Mongolia.


This year’s recipient is Alexander Esipov of Uzbekistan.


Alexander (Sasha) Esipov is the Deputy Director of Chatkal Nature Reserve and researcher with the Institute of Zoology of the Uzbek Academy of Sciences. He has compiled nearly 3 decades of field work primarily in the study of mammals of Uzbekistan and other Central Asian states. He developed a love of felids in the early 1980s and this brought him to snow leopards, a species he has worked tirelessly to protect ever since.  He was a founding member of Asia Irbis in 1998, a regional NGO devoted to conserving snow leopards in the wild.  Asia-Irbis formulated an action plan for the protection of Snow Leopard within the former Soviet Union and implemented several conservation projects with support from the International Snow Leopard Trust.


In 2002 Sasha attended the Snow Leopard Survival Summit in Seattle and played a very active role in development of the Snow Leopard Survival Strategy.  He is now serving his second term on the Steering Committee of the Snow Leopard Network (SLN).


With funding from an SLT Small Grant, Sasha co-authored a Snow Leopard Conservation Action Plan for Uzbekistan in 2003.  In 2006 he led an effort to collect and catalog all of the Russian-language snow leopard literature and make it available through the on-line bibliography of the SLN.  He helped to write English summaries for nearly 300 scholarly articles.  This undertaking has provided broad access to an incredible amount of previously published but difficult to access information.  


In all of his efforts, Sasha is joined by his wife Elena, also a wildlife biologist, making them a real snow leopard family. 


Alexander Esipov epitomizes the kind of drive and ambition to save snow leopards that Helen Freeman would certainly have appreciated. 


Congratulations to Alexander, the second recipient of the annual Freeman Award for Snow Leopard Conservation!