October 23 is celebrated around the world as the day of the snow leopard (Uncia uncia).

This beautiful and graceful animal is included in the Red Book of Kazakhstan and the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a rare endangered species.

Snow Leopard

The total number of snow leopards in the world is only about 3 thousand individuals, they all live in the mountains of Central and South Asia. There are no more than 150 snow leopards left in Kazakhstan, and this number is constantly decreasing.

The main threat to the snow leopard is poaching for its valuable fur. Being at the top of the food pyramid in its habitat, the leopard has no natural enemies and, in case of danger, usually freezes on the spot, hoping for a protective coloration of its fur. However, this often leads to his death, since in the conditions of open mountainous terrain, he becomes a rather easy target.

Taking into account the catastrophic decrease in the snow leopard population, Kazakhstan has stiffened penalties for poaching in recent years. Violators will be imposed heavy fines and serve a term of imprisonment of up to 12 years.

The country also prohibits hunting ungulates, such as argali and Siberian ibex, which are the main food of the snow leopard and whose well-being is crucial for its life.

The Altyn-Emel National Park monitors the safety of the population of the wild animals inhabiting its territory. The snow leopard can only be monitored by camera traps, since this animal is very cautious and active mainly at night. Thanks to camera traps, it was possible to record the snow leopard several times in 2020 and 2021 in the southwestern spurs of Dzhungarian Alatau. These mountains are a corridor for the snow leopard from the Zhongar-Alatau National Park, where its largest population is found.