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электронный журнал "Новые исследования Тувы"

Three snow leopards, a lynx and mountain goats caught by photo-trap in Tuva

Three snow leopards, a lynx and mountain goats caught by photo-trap in TuvaRussian scientists found three snow leopards, a lynx and mountain goats with the help pf photo-traps in the "Ubsunur depression" nature preserve in Tuva, as announced by  A. N. Severintsev Institute of Problems of Ecology and Evolution of RAN.

The snow leopard (irbis) is the least studied species of large cats in the world. This is caused by the fact that it inhabits remote, hard-to-reach areas, as well as that it is a really rare species.

"In October and November we registered five snow leopard sightings, three of those during daylight. It was possible to reliably identify two animals (they were named Kara-Kudruk and Ak-Dis). The presence of these irbises on the study area has been documented earlier. One animal still has not been identified," - according to Wednesday's announcement by the institute.

Beside that, this is the first time that the presence of a lynx was confirmed in the study area;  the lynx was photographed by the trap literally only three hors before the scientists came there. Very few mountain goats had been sighted, just like during  preceding visits (four visual sightings and 20 snapshots on the photo-traps).  Altai "ular" birds (mountain turkeys) have also been photographed on the ridges.

Three snow leopards, a lynx and mountain goats caught by photo-trap in TuvaAs a result of the work of this expedition, a data-base of snow leopard photos has been expanded. Altogether 47 photos have been made (70 during the entire expedition).

The stage of the complex field research of the program of study and monitoring of the snow leopard population of South Siberia took place from 18 November to 3 December 2010 in the protected zone of state natural biospheric preserve "Ubsunur depression" ( cluster segment "Mongun-Taiga"). The work will continue in 2011.

The program of study and monitoring of the snow leopard population of South Siberia, which is being done by the Severintsev institute  has as its goal working out scientific programs for protection of irbis in Russia. One of the most significant tasks of the program is to design new strategy for preservation of this predator  in Russia.  The snow leopard (irbis) is listed in the Red Book of International society for protection of nature (2000) as "under the threat of extinction" (highest protection category).

The Red Book of USSR (1984) lists irbis as "rare species with comparatively small range of habitat".

The range of habitat in Russia comprises 2-3% of contemporary total world range, and the population also is about 2% of total population of this species in the world.

Among the large cats, the leopard is the only one that inhabits high mountains. The snow leopard lives on the territories of 13 countries: Russia, Afghanistan, Burma, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kirgizia, China, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Tadzhikistan and Uzbekistan.

RIA Novosti, translated by Heda Jindrak
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