22 October 2020, Nur-Sultan – A hockey game between two clubs, BARYS from Nur-Sultan, and AK BARS from Kazan, will take place at the Barys Arena on the occasion of the International Snow Leopard Day, celebrated annually on 23 October. The sports event is devoted to the joint UNDP – BARYS campaign “Let’s save snow leopards together” focused on the protection of the endangered animal. Due to ongoing quarantine measures, the match will be played without spectators, but fans and supporters will have the opportunity to watch it online.
Over the past 40 years, the population of snow leopards in Kazakhstan has decreased from 180 - 200 to 130 - 150 animals. Globally, there are around 3,000 - 7,000 snow leopards living in 12 countries. Due to decline in their population and the risk of extinction, snow leopards were red listed as endangered species.
Funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), UNDP and the Government of Kazakhstan implement joint activities to enhance protection of and to reduce threats to snow leopards through identifying their habitats, delivering monitoring equipment to the protected areas, maintaining their food reserves, conducting field research and working with the local population.
“Jointly with our national partners we have been working on preserving snow leopards in Kazakhstan for several years now. So far, we have delivered special equipment –25 drones and 294 camera traps - to 13 specially protected nature parks in Almaty, East Kazakhstan, Zhambyl and Turkestan regions to improve monitoring of rare animals," said Yakup Beris, UNDP Resident Representative in Kazakhstan.
AK BARS hockey club joined the UNDP campaign this year, alongside with BARYS who has been taking part in the UNDP awareness raising activities for three years now. This is the second match between the two "snow leopards" in support to the UNDP campaign. The first game was held in Kazan (Russian Federation) on 16 October with final score 0:1 for Kazakhstan.
International Snow Leopard Day aims to raise public awareness around the risk of extinction of this rare species. The international day was established at the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Forum in 2013 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.