My Af­fec­tion­ate Snow Leop­ard

Uzbekistan Today (English) - - TODAY IN UZBEKISTAN - Igor Ch­ernykh

A few days ago a pre­sen­ta­tion of a new en­vi­ron­men­tal project “Sus­tain­able use of nat­u­ral re­sources and man­age­ment of forests in key moun­tain re­gions im­por­tant for glob­ally sig­nif­i­cant bio­di­ver­sity” took place in Tashkent.

It will be re­al­ized by the State Com­mit­tee for Ecol­ogy and En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion and the UNDP on the ba­sis of grant fund­ing from the Global En­vi­ron­ment Fa­cil­ity (GEF).

Its main goal is to as­sist in the sus­tain­able use of nat­u­ral re­sources in the bio­di­ver­si­tyrich high moun­tain ecosys­tems of Uzbek­istan. The project will be im­ple­mented in the high­lands of the Western Tien Shan and Pamir-Alai in the ad­min­is­tra­tive bound­aries of the Tashkent, Kashkadarya and Surkhandarya re­gions. And its main ob­ject is the snow leop­ard which lives in these ter­ri­to­ries and is in­cluded in the list of en­dan­gered species.

The project is planned to be re­al­ized in 2017-2022, the to­tal tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance bud­get is $ 6.5 mil­lion al­lo­cated by the GEF and UNDP.

It will also in­volve min­istries and de­part­ments, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and lo­cal gov­ern­ments, sci­en­tific and ed­u­ca­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of NGOs, as well as res­i­dents of ru­ral areas of these three re­gions of the repub­lic. The in­ter­na­tional part­ners are the sec­re­tariat of the Global Pro­gram for the con­ser­va­tion of the snow leop­ard and the pro­tec­tion of its ecosys­tems, devel­op­ment part­ner or­ga­ni­za­tions and in­ter­na­tional en­vi­ron­men­tal NGOs.

Lis­ten­ing to the re­ports and pre­sen­ta­tions, the par­tic­i­pants of the event had an ob­vi­ous ques­tion: what is the num­ber of snow leop­ards in our coun­try? It turned out that, de­spite the fact that this preda­tor which is on the verge of ex­tinc­tion, has long been in­cluded in the in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic Red Books, no one can an­swer this top­i­cal ques­tion. Ac­cord­ing to in­di­rect es­ti­mates, which per­haps, are far from re­al­ity, its num­ber varies from 25 to 75 in­di­vid­u­als.

The main rea­son for the de­cline in the num­ber of this preda­tory cat in the world and in our repub­lic is the degra­da­tion of the habi­tat as a re­sult of in­ten­sive devel­op­ment of moun­tain areas and poach­ing both on the leop­ard it­self and on an­i­mals that are its prey, pri­mar­ily moun­tain un­gu­lates. In ad­di­tion, lo­cal res­i­dents kill these preda­tors in re­venge for at­tack­ing live­stock.

The im­ple­men­ta­tion of the project will pro­vide ac­cu­rate data on the num­ber of snow leop­ards of the repub­lic; re­duce the im­pact of neg­a­tive fac­tors on their habi­tat. In par­tic­u­lar, it is planned to carry out large-scale ex­plana­tory work on is­sues of bio­di­ver­sity con­ser­va­tion among lo­cal res­i­dents of these re­gions of the repub­lic. For ex­am­ple, the project plans to in­sure live­stock from the at­tack of the snow leop­ard.

Ac­cord­ing to the fifth na­tional re­port of the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan on the pro­tec­tion of bio­di­ver­sity, over the past 15 years, moun­tain land­scapes of Uzbek­istan have suf­fered from the con­tin­u­ing degra­da­tion of pas­tures, forests and moun­tain habi­tats.

Un­til the end of 2017, a Na­tional En­vi­ron­men­tal Ac­tion Pro­gram will be in force in the coun­try. It de­fines na­tional strate­gic pri­or­i­ties for the preser­va­tion, restora­tion and im­prove­ment of the qual­ity of the en­vi­ron­ment, the en­hance­ment of the sus­tain­able use of nat­u­ral re­sources, the in­te­gra­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and the sus­tain­able use of nat­u­ral re­sources in other sec­tors of the econ­omy.

Thus, mod­ern ap­proaches to the pro­tec­tion and man­age­ment of re­sources in key moun­tain re­gions im­por­tant for glob­ally sig­nif­i­cant bio­di­ver­sity will make it pos­si­ble to take one more step to­wards achiev­ing sus­tain­able devel­op­ment goals in ru­ral areas of Uzbek­istan.

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