Read the Trip Briefing to learn more about why this work is important, discover more about the region and its wildlife, and find answers to many other questions.

Trip#1: mid-June – mid-July 2015

Chikhacheva’s Snow Leopards & Steppe EaglesSteppe eagle fledgling (photo by I. Smelyansky)

During this trip, we will divide into groups to perform the following tasks:

  1. Visit existing camera traps to collect snow leopard and argali sheep data
  2. Deploy new camera traps for manul/Pallas cat and temporary camera traps on raptor nesting sites
  3. Study steppe eagle and other raptor fledglings as well as nesting pairs
  4. Document the presence of other wildlife and livestock-wildlife interactions.

All research will be conducted between Mount Talduair and Chikhacheva Ridge, north of the Chuisky Tract road, right up to the Mongolian border.

Last day to sign up for Trip 1 is April 2015.

Trip#2: mid-July – mid-August 2015

Sailyugem’s Argali Sheep and Steppe EaglesArgali  (camera trap image by S. Spitsyn)

During this trip, we will work in teams to conduct a complete population survey of Altai argali mountain sheep. This is a transboundary population, and we will coordinate our survey work with Mongolian scientists to ensure an accurate count of sheep numbers, sex, and age. In addition, we will:

  1. Deploy camera traps at raptor nesting sites
  2. Study steppe eagle and other raptor fledglings as well as nesting pairs
  3. Conduct a detailed population survey of the entire argali sheep population in the area
  4. Survey for the presence/absence of snow leopards in the area.

Last day to sign up for Trip 2 is May 2015.

Travel Details for Both Trips

Participants will generally depart the United States two calendar days prior to arrival in Gorno-Altaisk on schedule. European travelers will depart 1-2 calendar days prior to arrival in Gorno-Altaisk. Travelers should plan to travel via Moscow’s Domodedovo airport in order to continue on to Gorno-Altaisk (airport code RGK, booked directly on the S7 Airlines website).

Following is a basic itinerary. Changes will be made as necessary to allow for weather, high river levels, road conditions, and possible border permit delays. We will also share a traditional Altaian meal one evening in camp and interact with herder families camped in our research area.

Day Itinerary
1 Arrive in Gorno-Altaisk. Rest. Visa registration.
2 Gorno-Altaisk, visit Anokhin Museum, final shopping/errands.
3 Drive to Aktash area. Camp overnight on the Chuya River. Side trip to Uch Enmek Nature Park.
4 Receive border permits in Aktash/Kosh-Agach. Travel to first camp site.
5 Fieldwork
6 Fieldwork
7 Fieldwork
8 Fieldwork
9 Fieldwork
10 Fieldwork
11 Fieldwork
12 Fieldwork (plus an extra day of fieldwork on Trip 2 to accommodate airline schedules)
13 Begin return trip with overnight stop in traditional village. Sidetrip to Kalbak-Tash petroglyphs.
14 Arrive in Gorno-Altaisk by midday. Afternoon rest and shopping.
15 Fly to Moscow and onward.

Wild Altai Expeditions staff will work with participants to plan travel, acquire visas, and prepare for the trip. We love travel logistics! Please feel free to contact us with your questions.