Argali population in the Altai-Sayan rose to almost two thousand individuals

Ecology of Russia and Mongolia in the fall counted a Red mountain sheep (argali), living in adjacent areas of the Altai-Sayan ecoregion, and found that its population had grown to nearly two thousand individuals, but the proportion and the number of poachers on the Russian side, told RIA Novosti the head expedition from the Russian side, researcher Altai biosphere reserve Sergey Spitsyn.

Argali (the largest subspecies of argali) is found only in the aisles of the Altai-Sayan, in the border area of Russia and Mongolia. Herds constantly migrate from Russia to Mongolia and back. Recent studies have shown that the population is stable argali, but ecologists have assumed that the number of animals may have increased. To obtain accurate information about the population size of reserves experts "Altai" and "Uvs Nuur Basin", NGO "Arhar" and environmentalists Mongolian national parks both in October and November of this year saw the animals on both sides of the border. Support provided by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Russia and the Global Green Grants Foundation.

They become more

"Our observations strongly hindered weather, strong winds and blizzards often forced to simply turn off surveillance work in such conditions was impossible. On the Mongolian side the weather was favorable. Despite the difficulties, we have worked in full" — said Spitsyn.

All the surveyed territory of Russia and Mongolia specialists averaged 1.948 thousand individuals argali, of which 427 — in Russia and 1.521 in Mongolia. The results confirm the fact that the group is not only stable, it is constantly growing. Thus, if during the 2003-2004 surveys were 1,00-1,14 their thousands, in the summer of 2010 — is 1.6-1.7 thousands of animals.

Poachers and the lack of protection

However, the threat of poaching on the Russian side in this area is not reduced.

"We are very disappointed by the fact that while working everywhere we find the following hunt argali. Following it can be concluded that they are persecuted here and in road transport. Almost every tract we encountered fresh tracks vehicles and hunting people, their parking lots, and some evidence of animal production — Siberian ibex and argali. Yet we have not met a single inspector, were protecting the area. This area is, unfortunately, little guarded. Apparently, this was the reason that most of the herds migrate on Mongolian territory. far as we know, they were able to deal with poaching, "- said the official.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Mongolia, educate the local people and the protection of habitats argali-established in cooperation with the border guards will almost completely defeat poaching. On the Russian side of the case with the protection of argali worse.

"The growth of the argali on the border of our country, most likely, is a credit to the Mongolian side," — says project coordinator of the Altai-Sayan branch of WWF Russia Mikhail Paltsyn.

Reasons for this situation are many, believe environmentalists. Currently, each district of the Altai Republic has only one inspector who is engaged in the protection of wildlife, two or three inspectors are in combat units. A funding from the National Committee for the Protection of wildlife just poor: in 2012 for the protection of rare species they were allocated 82.5 thousand. According to experts, it is not enough to repair or transport or the fuel for the raids. Besides Saylyugemsky National Park, where the largest group of argali, so while not started.

In the border area

Told Spitsyn, up to 50% of habitat on the ridge Chikhacheva argali, and 90% on the ridge Saylyugem are within five kilometers of the border area with a special protection regime. It is forbidden even shooting. A Border Guard is also a specially authorized body in the protection of wildlife in the area of responsibility. But here too, much depends on the people. Thus, in the area of responsibility Tashantinskoy outpost is quiet: no trace of other people's machines, there are no traces of hunters. If there are traces, only the boundary order and argali, who go right at the border hut.

"On the contrary, in the tract Naryn-goal within five kilometers of the band we have found traces of illegal hunting of mountain goats. Insides found two dead animals, traces portage to the car. We observed the car itself. All information on this case we passed by satellite phone border guards. In these places, the ridge Chikhacheva, to our knowledge, lives of at least six species of snow leopards. number of ungulates is low. So it turns out that everyone who was killed or argali mountain goat — the reduction of the already poor diet (Red — Ed.) Snow Leopard . How long can they hold out on a starvation diet? "- added Spitsyn.

Altai argali or mountain sheep (argali subspecies) — a rare animal, according to scientists in the world they are no more than 4.5-5.5 thousand individuals, about 28% of them live in transboundary areas of Russia and Mongolia.

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