Monday, 17 December 2012

Snow leopard action planning in China

Dear All,

Hello once again. I know it's infrequent, but I'm sure you'd rather that than constant noise about nothing. What can I say? We've been fantastically busy. I'm not in the mood to write lots, but I will flag up certain fruits of our labours, and offer a short video to help you along.

First, we held the first national action planning meeting for snow leopard in Beijing a few weeks ago. Now, this may sound pretty dry and pointless amidst the apparent screaming need for real action on the ground. No so, however. Before you go off and do something 'useful' it is inherently useful to understand what actually needs doing and what are the priorities. Also, who is actually going to do everything that's needed, how they will work together (conservationists, like many people, have a sketchy history in this regard) and who will part with the necessary cash. That's all great, but the real step forward is that we had a strong showing from all provinces in China with snow leopards and the national government. All were super keen to develop plans for China, so the challenge is now to maintain that enthusiasm. Having a Chinese lead on this is essential.

The secondary (or was is main) reason for this national get together was to launch the "Second National Snow Leopard Survey for China", which we have been tasked with delivering. Hooray! Oh, hang on... surveying over HOW much cold inhospitable remote mountainous back of beyond? Given the scale of the snow leopard range in China this is a monster task; something akin to a yeti perhaps. So getting all of the provinces involved is essential to getting this done over the next couple of years. The good news is that we now have study sites across China, which can form a hi-res background against which we validate other areas. More of that, and other stuff, later...

In the meantime, here is a video of the Beijing workshop, put together by Eve Bohnett - one of our many highly talented students:

Peace and goodwill to you all.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Big cat conservation and people

This, from my other blog, on Wild Cat Conservation in China:

The Failures of Tiger Conservation

Monday, 25 July 2011

More from Gansu

Dear All,

The field season earlier this year was a huge success, with new areas surveyed in Gansu (as well as Xinjiang and Tibet). The sites in west Gansu were particularly busy with snow leopard sign and we were rewarded with a photo with no fewer than three apparently adult animals walking together (the third animal is just visible on the far left).

These are probably an adult female with her adolescent offspring, but this is an unusual shot. Shame the photo quality wasn't better, but oh well.

You might also enjoy the following video we shot on a remote camera in Taxkurgan in Xinjiang.

Friday, 15 April 2011

In Memory of Rinchen Wangchuk

We were saddened to learn of the untimely death of Rinchen Wangchuk. Rinchen's contribution to furthering our knowledge about snow leopards is remarkable and a lasting legacy. Our sincerest sympathies are with his family.

Information about Rinchen and his work are on Sibylle Noras' blog.

Phil, Kun and the China snow leopards team.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Project latest (from Gansu Province)

Dear All,

Firstly thanks for Chen Ying for the previous stalling post. We have been variously camped out in sites in Xinjiang and Gansu, and are now proudly monitoring nine sites for snow leopard research and conservation across China (but more of that later).

I will start with the current news, rather than my usual, slightly ranty, stuff. Dr Shi Kun and I set up a team in Qilianshan Nature Reserve in Gansu, comprised of Beijing Forestry University students Ms Yuan Yi Fang and Mr Sun Qiao Qi, along with local Forestry Administration manager Mr Ma Yingjun and local community representative and guide extraordinaire, Mr Archun Qi. This area is of vital importance for snow leopard conservation and for understanding their ecology and dispersal. But more of that later - sorry I keep getting side-tracked...

Well, to the point. Here are the latest images from the camera traps:

I can't begin to explain how these make us feel, given the work involved and also because these represent vital information that will add to a growing database underpinning our research.

I'll end for the moment with one of Archun, Qiao Qi and I setting a camera in the field in Gansu.

More to come... and also from the teams in Xinjiang...

Much love (because I'm obviously in a good mood),

P.S. I'll publish the research "back-story" soon.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Where's Phil?

Phil and the team (Dr Shi Kun, Sun Qioa Qi and Yuan Yi Fang) are currently establishing field sites and surveying snow leopards and their prey in the Qilianshan Nature Reserve in Gansu.I'm sure he will provide more details and pictures when they return.

Posted on Phil's behalf by Chen Ying.

Friday, 14 January 2011


Hello All and Happy New Year.

First up for the year, this caught my eye on the BBC News website:

Tajikistan cedes land to China

China and Tajikistan say that they have settled a century-old border dispute, after the Central Asian nation agreed to cede land to China. The Tajik parliament voted on Wednesday to ratify a 1999 deal handing over 386 square miles (1,000 sq km) of land in the remote Pamir mountain range.

Full story here.