Photo credit: UNDP Kazakhstan

23 October 2021, Nur-Sultan - On the eve of International Snow Leopard Day a hockey game between the Barys (Nur-Sultan) and Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl) clubs will took place in the Barys-Arena Ice Palace. During the match, an action of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) entitled "Kar barysyn saktayyk!" (Let’s Save the Snow Leopard!), was organized. The campaign was designed to draw attention to the problem of preserving the snow leopard in Kazakhstan as a rare and endangered species.

For several years, UNDP, together with the Government of Kazakhstan, funded by the Global Environment Facility (the GEF), have been implementing a project to protect and preserve the snow leopard population in the country. Within the framework of the project, field research is being carried out, as well as measures to combat poaching, the creation and improvement of a network of specially protected natural areas, promoting environmental awareness and enhancing the environmental laws in Kazakhstan. As part of the project, 294 camera traps have been installed in 13 specially protected natural areas in the Almaty, East Kazakhstan, Zhambyl and Turkestan regions, which allow monitoring of the snow leopard population and its food supply, and for the first time in Kazakhstan a modern SMART monitoring and patrol system has been introduced.

“Over the past 100 years, the snow leopard habitat in Kazakhstan has decreased more than threefold. Today the area is just over 20,000 square metres. UNDP in Kazakhstan has joined forces with national partners to study, protect and preserve the snow leopard and its habitats. To date, it has been possible to confirm that the rare predator is dwelling in the Zhetysu-Alatau region in the Sholak, Degeres, Matai mountains where the leopard was first photographed by a camera trap installed with the support of UNDP”, said Yakup Beris, UNDP Resident Representative in Kazakhstan.

“The snow leopard is the main symbol of the Barys Hockey Club. In Kazakhstan, this species is endangered, so for several years our club has been taking part in UNDP's “Kar barysyn saktayyk!” campaign in order to contribute to preserving the snow leopard. Such initiatives are an opportunity to draw the attention of the fans of our club, including the younger generation, to the need to care for nature and the wildlife. The more people unite, the more chances the snow leopard has to be protected", said Boris Ivanishchev, President of the Barys Hockey Club.

A photo exhibition dedicated to the snow leopard, contests with prizes, face painting for children, slow motion and other activities were organized for the fans within the Barys-Arena Ice Palace as part of the "Let’s Save the Snow Leopard!" campaign. 

International Snow Leopard Day aims to raise public awareness on the risks of extinction of this rare animal. Snow Leopard Day was established in October 2013 in Bishkek at the World Snow Leopard Conservation Forum.

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