February 16, 2021

Snow Leopards Dream of Electric-Fenced Sheep



Snow Leopards Dream of Electric-Fenced Sheep
Beautiful animals, but also highly effective predators.  Frida Bredesen, unsplash.com

While we might be ecstatic to spot a rare snow leopard in the Altai Mountains, many livestock breeders in the area have a less positive opinion of the predator. This is due to the fact that, of course, any leopard in their right mind would love to make an easy snack out of some unsuspecting sheep or cow.

Not only is this a problem for the poor animal, but for the farmers who rely on each and every animal in their herd for financial support. So naturally, if a herdsman is lucky enough to catch a leopard in the act, they may be inclined to shoot the endangered animal to protect their own.   

Two percent of the world's quickly dwindling population of snow leopards live in Russia, and ecologists are looking into how they can do their part to save the species. They realized that they can actually help by stopping the problem at its source and assisting farmers in the region to better repair their old, ineffective fencing systems and keep the leopards at bay.

The project will begin this summer thanks to the World Around You Foundation of the Siberian Health Cooperation. They plan to first conduct a survey to determine the needs of local residents and then to install new animal shelters, electric fences, and possibly even sound-systems that would scare the pesky leopards away from danger without harming the endangered big cats.

Sounds like a win-win to us!

The Ghost of the Mountains
  • March 01, 2017

The Ghost of the Mountains

Editor Maria Antonova headed off to the mountains of the Altai to learn about a project that monitors rare snow leopards. We get to tag along.
Saving the Amur Tiger
  • September 01, 2007

Saving the Amur Tiger

The magisterial tigers of Russia's Far East are on the brink of extinction. Threats to their survival are legion: from poachers to Chinese "healers" to nervous villagers to corrupt bureaucrats. All told, just a few hundred Amur Tigers remain in the wild.
Defending Russian Nature
  • September 01, 2003

Defending Russian Nature

Over the last century, Russia has created a system of preserves -- zapovedniki -- where wilderness holds sway and humans are rarely allowed. It is the world's largest system of strict nature preserves. We meet some of the heroes quietly working to preserve these zapovedniki, despite miserly allocations from the government.
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