Tailing the Snow LeopardLevels 2-4

Would you like to participate in a tremendous protection project for an endangered wildcat? Do you love wildlife, adventure and travel? Then the (...) Further Details

Tailing the Snow LeopardLevels 2-4

Would you like to participate in a tremendous protection project for an endangered wildcat? Do you love wildlife, adventure and travel? Then the (...) Further Details

Leopard – 17 days – Kyrgyzstan
"Za Panthera !"
Exceptional adventures and real projects for sustainable development

Introduction


Details are currently being updated for the 2017 session. Thank you for your patience and understanding..

Join a team of educators for Objective Sciences International at the heart of the Sarychat-Ertash Nature Reserve to study Kyrgyzstan’s remote feline Feline
Felids
Felines
: the Snow Leopard! Accompanied by the Reserve’s keepers, the team will survey the valleys, slopes and summits to examine evidence of the leopard’s presence and the broad range of wildlife of the heavenly Kyrgyzstani mountains…

The stay


This expedition is offered to children accompanied by their parents, unaccompanied teenagers from age 16, and adults


This little guy in the photo is one of the two Snow Leopard cubs observed in the wild in the Heavenly Mountains of Altai by members of the OSI PANTHERA Expedition of August 2014.


The “Tracking the Snow Leopard” Expeditions, organized by the NGO Objective Sciences International, are not only a voyage into the discovery of the natural world, are not merely trekking trips in the Himalayas; these Expeditions are a journey of self-discovery. If Mother Nature allows you the opportunity to cross paths with a Leopard, a creature that you will learn to study and to protect during this mission, you will find within yourself an everlasting goldmine of personal wealth…

The Snow Leopards occupy an immense territory in Central Asia, and in Kyrgyzstan they have been an integral part of the culture for millennia. However, although a large number still live in this country, the Snow Leopards have been studied very little and poached without distinct limitations. Other threats weighted against them include the reduction of their territory, the decline in number of their wild prey, or even the conflicts of interest with livestock farmers. The Leopards are increasingly isolated from one another and the chances of reproduction are seriously limited, threating the survival of the species.


The Trip




The Objective Sciences International organization has been successfully leading young people, adults and families around Kyrgyzstan every year since 2006.

The first phase of the projects is to ascertain the current state of the species in Kyrgyzstan through the identification of individual Snow Leopards and their territories. To accomplish this, you will leave the site equipped with camera traps, binoculars, telescopes, and a trekking GPS to localize and observe wildlife from every possible angle.

You will begin your adventure in the Kyrgyzstani mountains, and together with the other participants you will expand the tracking range of the Leopards by creating transects.







You will track the Leopards by following the trails that they leave behind, and the camera traps that you will have installed on their passage routes can take remarkable shots of the wildlife during the night. You will be listening for the slightest noise, the slightest breath, attentive to each movement… you will unify with the mountain to discover the incalculable richness she shelters. Forgetting your own comfort, you will learn not to stir the senses of the animals in order to be able to get closer to them.








You will log all details important to the study in your field notebooks: the slightest change in temperature, the hour of the day, the precise places of observations… you will create an authentic database on the Snow Leopards and your results will be analyzed by a population tracking software. Afterwards, your conclusions will be presented to carnivore conservation specialists who follow this incredibly interesting project very closely!






Your experience in Snow Leopard territory will be both unique and intense. Whether hiking through the high pastures filled with Edelweiss or on the lookout at the foot of a glacier, you will encounter wildlife in its intimacy, in the heart of valleys surrounded by vast snow-capped summits.

In the evenings, you will rejoin at basecamp. It is here, around the campfire, that you will share unforgettable moments with the other expedition participants and will discover the culture of the Kyrgyzstani people, all whilst admiring the glittering sky… You will return home with countless, unforgettable memories and a feeling of having made a contribution to the safeguarding of an invaluable treasure: the illustrious Snow Leopard.




Requirements

ATTENTION: enrollment onto this trip requires a full awareness of its level of physical and athletic difficulty. Far from wanting to discourage you, these challenges could on the contrary appeal to you, but you must be aware of the following points:

  • Transport in the Natural State Reserve is by horse. No equestrian or hiking level is needed by the association, however a certain physical capacity is indispensable in order to appreciate the journey. You must be confident that you are not fearful of horses, nor of climbing mountains, and that you are at ease with travelling for several hours at a time. We will almost daily spend 1 to 3 hours on horseback and 4 to 6 hours walking through the mountains (between 300 and 900 meters’ difference in height each day by foot).
    Nevertheless, with great motivation, physical training and a few initiation courses to horseback riding, the expedition is accessible to all!



  • Each team will have a basecamp (very basic mountain refuge) around 4 hours by horse from one another. Each of the teams will get around by following the stars from their basecamp. One team will take responsibility for the environmental sphere of the Leopard, for example, and the other will take care of the monitoring (tracking), but for both teams it is possible that you will observe a Leopard or… bears! These roles are reversed in time. When a team is responsible for tracking, they will leave the horses at the bottom of the valleys and climb by foot up to the summit where the photo traps are positioned. The height difference of this quick two-way trip is from 700m on average. For the participants arranged to study the environmental sphere, you may take a liking to the valleys without too much difference in height.



  • Accommodation, once in the Reserve, will be in tents, the most often at basecamp level. The shelter (small hut or wagon) thus serves as an average slice of life and the tents serve as bedrooms. During long periods of travel, or prolonged lookouts, the nights may be spent on site in a temporary camp without returning to the basecamp (in a tent or under the stars).



  • One of the Reserve’s basecamps is currently undergoing renovation by the NGO (initial stages were carried out in 2010, follow the link to article making the report of this operation), the ultimate objective being to offer a permanent scientific base on the State Reserve where Objective Sciences International may welcome all scientists who wish to stay longer.

Slide Show

Adventurer friends, if you want to take a trip from the comfort of your armchair while waiting to sign-up, then click on the image below to start the slide show and get exploring:

If you wish to read the logbooks of previous expeditions, in order to discover the accounts and adventures of each team, click on this link!!


Practical Information

More dates and times will be proposed from June to September. Contact us here!

Travelling by plane


The journey to Kyrgyzstan is not included in the price of enrollment. You must make your own way to Bishkek airport where we will be there to welcome you.

IMPORTANT: For underage participants who are not used to travelling alone, be aware that, for many cities in the world, the flight to Bishkek has to be made with one change between two flights of the same company. You can thus ask the air hostesses to accompany underage travelers. They will point your child in the direction of the flight to Bishkek. For all details, do not hesitate to contact us (via the “Contacts” link on this page).

Wherever your place of departure and your chosen expedition dates, your arrival at Bishkek airport will be Tuesday morning between the 04:00 and 05:30, and the departure from Bishkek will be Friday morning between 03:30 and 06:30..

The three airlines that currently fly to Kyrgyzstan are Aeroflot, Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines .

Some example schedules are given below:

- From Paris:
_AirlineAeroflot: Leaves Monday at 2:00pm from Paris-CDG. Stopover in Moscow between 7:30pm and 10:55pm. Arrive in Bishkek at 5:10am, local time (1:10am in France) on Tuesday.
_Return Friday at 6:30am from Bishkek. Arrive at 1:10pm at Paris-CDG (local time) the same day.

- From Gevena:
_Airline Aeroflot: Leaves Monday at 12:35pm from Geneva. Stopover in Moscow between 6:05pm and 10:55pm. Arrive in Bishkek at 5:10am, local time (1:10am in Switzerland Vacation Camp
Valais
Switzerland
Every year the NGO Objectif Sciences International offers several science camps in Valais, Switzerland, on different themes (fauna & flora, architecture, palaeontology, geology, drones...) You will find, at the following link, more information about our nature camps.
) on Tuesday.
_Return Friday at 6:30am from Bishkek. Arrive at 11:45am at Geneva (local time) the same day.

- From Berlin:
_Airline Aeroflot: Leaves Monday at 14:05 from Berlin. Stopover in Moscow between 18:35 and 22:55. Arrive in Bishkek at 05:10, local time (01:10 in Germany) on Tuesday.
_Return Friday at 06:30 from Bishkek. Arrive at 13:15 at Berlin (local time) the same day.

- From New York:
_Airline Aeroflot: Leaves Sunday at 22:55 from New York. Stopover in Moscow between 18:25 and 22:55 on Monday. Arrive in Bishkek at 05:10, local time, on Tuesday.
_Return Friday at 06:30 from Bishkek. Arrive at 12:20 at New York (local time) the same day.

- From Los Angeles:
_Airline Aeroflot: Leaves Sunday at 16:25 from Los Angeles. Stopover in Moscow between 15:25 and 22:55 on Monday. Arrive in Bishkek at 05:10, local time, on Tuesday.
_Return Friday at 06:30 from Bishkek. Arrive at 14:45 at Los Angeles (local time) the same day.

- From Tokyo:
_Airlines Aeroflot and Japan Airlines: Leaves Monday at 10:00 from Tokyo. Stopover in Seoul between 12:35 and 13:55 the same day. Next depart to Moscow, and stopover in Moscow between 17:40 and 22:55 the same day. Arrive in Bishkek at 05:10, local time, on Tuesday.
_Return Friday at 14:30 from Bishkek. Arrive at 12:30 at Tokyo (local time) on Saturday.

Airport Codes:
Paris Charles de Gaulle PAR
Bishkek Manas FRU
Moscou Sheremetyevo SVO
Genève Cointrin GVA
Berlin BER
New York J F Kennedy NYC
Los Angeles LAX
Tokyo Narita NRT
Seoul Incheon ICN
Montréal Pierre Elliott Trudeau YUL


In order to be sure of your choice, if you have any questions please you to contact us..


Partners




This Expedition is supported by the flight reservation platform Easy Voyage. You can visit EasyVoyage to find flights at the best price.










Video

The research project

This Scientific Vacations journey is planned within the framework of voluntary contributions to the Research and Education Program dedicated to the study and the protection of the Snow Leopard. Find more information on the PANTHERA Program on this website

Concepts Learned during the Camp

Anthropology – Population Biology – Co-evolution – Ancestral Knowledge – Wildcats – Tracking animal species - Traditions

Equipment Used

Topographical map – Sample kit – GPS –Digital photography – Camera Trapping – Cxz – Walkie-Talkie – Digital video

The location

Please have your visa ready for the Heavenly Mountains and the great Issyk-kul lake of the Himalayas!

You must have a ‘scientific visa’. The Sarychat-Ertash State Nature Reserve (situated at the south of the Issyk-kul lake, on the Mountains at the frontier of Kyrgyzstan and Nepal) does not allow visa-exempt entry. You must have a border-specific permit. Furthermore, an authorization is necessary in order to access the Naryn Reserve (situated in the center of the country).


The Objective Sciences International association itself controls the logistic elements of its Expeditions to Kyrgyzstan without the assistance of service providers. All of our activities within the Reserve are always co-organized with the permanent park team, who participate in all of our Expeditions. All this allows us to guarantee an activity dedicated 100% to our scientific and cultural objectives.

Outside of the reserves we stay with residents in a yurt or in village houses. Over the years, our hosts in Bishkek, Tolok and Chong-jargilchak, and the drivers and keepers of the reserves, have become more than just our partners, they are our beloved and devoted friends that we always look forward to seeing again and for you to meet.

Day to day proceedings

After your arrival in Bishkek, the first days will allow you to prepare under a plan both strategic and scientific, all while discovering the archetypal countryside landscapes of Kyrgyzstan. You will also be able to meet other participants during this time, after which you will leave for the Nature Reserve together.


Once you have arrived in the Nature Reserve, you will travel along the high mountains of Kyrgyzstan on horseback and by foot to collect all sorts of information on the Snow Leopard, its prey and its competitors. In small groups of 6 participants, and 1 or 2 OSI leaders and 3 keepers, your role as a true researcher will be realized, and the manipulation of scientific material will no longer be a secret to you. This work will allow you to establish among other things a topography of the Leopard and increase your knowledge of this wildcat.


Each expedition will allow you to discover Bishkek (the capital), its customs and culture. You will be granted entry into the spectacular setting of the Sarychat-Ertash Reserve, a mixture of vast planes and dizzyingly high mountains, inhabited by argali, ibex, wolves, bears, lynx, deer, eagles, vultures…
The opportunity to sunbathe by the majestic Issyk-kul lake, pride of Kyrgyzstan, will be your last stop before heading back to your home country.


The team

Over the years, the PANTHERA Program team have formed a strong core made up of passionate people. During your stay, you will have the chance to meet one of its members. More information on the team can be found on this website.

Sponsors

Here are two professionals who have very different experiences in Biology. However, they have one thing in common: they believe in our PANTHERA program, in its values, and they support us!


Thierry Bergès,
Professor of Genetics and the University of Poitiers, member of the Laboratory of Ionic Membrane Marking and Transportation (CNRS ERL7368)


When you participate in a PANTHERA Expedition, you are guaranteed to have an unforgettable experience.
Who hasn’t dreamed of riding through the middle of the virtually deserted, imposing, breathtaking landscape? To scale summits on the tracks of wild animals, the presence of which you feel permanently close? To share these emotions with a small group while snoozing around a campfire together?

The exchanges with the keepers of the Reserve and the local people will allow for the discovery of their way of life and local traditions, which equally make these trips a formidable anthropological adventure. If you add that the organization is without fault, that the escorts are extremely competent and possess a lot of experience on the ground, one clearly has to recommend to those who are enticed by a wildlife trip in a faraway country to throw oneself into such an adventure!


Marie Dorin-Habert, Olympic Silver Medalist of the biathlon in Vancouver, 2010, multiple-time world cup holder and qualified Master Pro in Environmental Ecology Biodiversity


Being a high-level biathlon athlete over the years, I have always held a liking for adventure novels, life in the outdoors and journeys around the world. Partly because of my profession, I have been able to travel and observe very different landscapes without ever having to cut myself off from the comfort of civilization, entering the fantastic and shocking world of the lives of animals who represent ourselves millions of years ago. And yet…
Certain nights, the landscapes invite themselves into our dreams, like the pure and wild immensity of the promises of madmen. Inspired by reports or adventure books, they transport us to a world where nature plays the leading role. Panthera is part of these organizations that inspire these dreams, due to its involvement in protecting these untouched areas, and also allows the most audacious to act on their dreams by embarking on expeditions rich in wisdom and emotion.

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