Leopards of the Gobi
leopards are amongst the most beautiful and elusive of the great cats,
their tawny coats with black rosettes offer effective camouflage in their
native mountain habitats. Snow leopard are found in the mountainous regions
of Central Asia, including the Altai, Pamir, Karakoram and Himalaya Ranges. Snow Leopards are widely
distributed in the mountains of western and southern Mongolia, the Altai Range.
Population estimates vary from about 800 to 1500 animals spread over a
range of 40,000 sq miles. The highest densities are thought to be South
Gobi, Gobi Altai and Northern Altai Mountains.
issues directly threaten the snow leopard's future in Mongolia.
Illegal hunting occurs for trade in hides and bones, and poaching as
retribution by herders for loss of domestic livestock. Poaching of Ibex and
Argali sheep, the snow leopard's traditional prey, puts further pressure on
domestic livestock and human intervention .
The need to involve herders in the process of conservation led to the
establishment of Irbis Enterprises in 1998 as a community-based program
(the word 'Irbis' is Mongolian for Snow Leopard). By offering and
encouraging alternate income-generating activities to herders in regions
inhabited by snow leopard, incentive and education not to kill the animals
could be provided. Irbis Enterprises provides herders with access to local
and foreign markets for herder-made handicrafts, returning the bulk of
sales profit directly to the herders.
On this expedition we join local scientists on a research mission to the
South Gobi, participating in a study to
determine variation in snow leopard density in the Tost and Noyan mountain
ranges; to interview Irbis Enterprises' partner families and record present
attitudes towards Snow Leopards and livestock loss. During the course of
the expedition we will participate in lectures by Mongolian scientists on
Snow Leopard research in Mongolia,
and learn about the future survival of this great cat.
6 – 14 persons
Truly an exceptional expedition, and a unique opportunity to learn
firsthand about this fantastic endangered species and its fight for
survival. Proceeds from this expedition go directly towards funding Snow
Leopard conservation in Mongolia.
This expedition is endorsed by the International Snow Leopard Trust and
is run in partnership with Irbis Enterprises. For information about these
organizations, please visit their websites: www.snowleopard.org and www.irbis-enterprises.com.
For itinerary, bookings and further information…
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