On the track of the snow leopard in Kirghizia

  • Scientific expedition
  • Kirghizia
  • 19 days (July and August)
  • Adults, families, young people aged 16 and over
  • 4,400 € - tax deductible

Get involved with scientific educators studying the snow leopard in the heart of nature reserves in Kirghizia (or Kyrgyzstan). On the trail of the snow leopard in Kirghizia. Experience an adventure in the heart of the Kyrgyz mountains, to study the snow leopard. Explore the mountains on foot or horseback, looking for signs of the snow leopard and other wildlife. Also known as the snow leopard or "ounce", this mountain ghost is one of the world's most enigmatic felines. It lives in remote, hard-to-reach places in a dozen Asian countries.

On foot and on horseback in the Kyrgyz mountains

Objectives of the snow leopard scientific program

Snow leopards have been an integral part of Kyrgyz culture for thousands of years. Kirghizia is thought to account for 10% of the total number of snow leopards. Although there are not many studies devoted to the snow leopard, there is evidence that it is in danger. Threats include habitat loss and a decline in prey such as ibex and mouflon. It is also a victim of poaching and conflicts with farmers.

  • Non-invasive monitoring of snow leopard (Panthera uncia) populations and wildlife in Central Asia.
  • Raising awareness of biodiversity protection among participants and local populations.
  • Support for the country's nature conservationists.
  • At present, this project is divided into two major studies: 
    • A phototrap study. Each snow leopard has a unique coat. Photo-identification is therefore an excellent tool for identifying individuals over the years. It's also ideal for studying panther behavior.
    • A genetic study involves collecting faeces, which are then analysed in the laboratory.

Your role in the snow leopard science project

The missions take place in the heart of the Kyrgyz steppe, between lakes, torrents and glaciers. You will explore the ridges and valleys on foot and/or on horseback. In order to extend the study area across the country throughout the season, the NGO works in different zones, including two state nature reserves (Sarychat-Ertash and Naryn) as well as the Shamshy and Chon Jarguilchak valleys.

On foot and on horseback in the Kyrgyz mountains

During the day, you track the panthers by following the tracks they leave behind and the camera traps, which you control and/or set up. These camera traps can take exceptional shots of wildlife, day and night.
You note down in your notebooks all the important details for the study: the type of clue, the species concerned, the sex, the numbers, the time of day, the precise location of the sightings...
In this way, you help to build up a database on the snow leopard and its ecosystem. You will be in regular contact with the local population, in particular with the reserve rangers.

  • August 6 to August 24, 2023 (Naryn)
  • August 13 to August 31, 2023 (Sarychat)
  •  October 22 to November 4, 2023 (Shamshy/ Chon Jarguilchak) 
  • From June 16, 2024 to July 4, 2024 (Sarychat)
  • From July 7, 2024 to July 25, 2024 (Naryn)
  • July 14 to August 1, 2024 (Sarychat)
  • August 4, 2024 to August 22 (Naryn)
  • August 11, 2024 to August 29, 2024 (Sarychat)
    • Price: 4,400 euros, or 1,496 euros after tax *.
  • From October 20, 2024 to November 2, 2024
    • Price: 3,240 euros, or 1,101.4 euros after tax *.

* This scientific stay is tax-deductible

The partner NGO is recognized for the quality, usefulness, solidarity and educational nature of its stays, which enable their participants to advance a genuine project dedicated to science and the resolution of sustainable development objectives, through practical experience. So, in line with the Congés Solidaires tax system, you don't buy a holiday, you make a donation to the NGO, which can then set up the projects, and the participants commit to them as volunteers. The financial contribution to the NGO is therefore tax-deductible in all countries of the European Economic Area (European Union, Switzerland... in France, for example, up to 66%).

Conditions for taking part in the scientific trip

  • Open to young people aged 16 and over, adults and families.
  • You need to be in good physical condition and be able to walk in the mountains.
  • Accommodation with local people or in guest houses in the plains and villages, and in tents in the mountains.

Headline photo: © Bruno Cédat

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The NGO partner

The partner NGO has Special Consultative Status with the UN (ECOSOC) and is a member of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition. Specializing in scientific trips, the NGO develops participatory research and believes that education is the driving force behind the Sustainable Development Goals. 

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