GPS Training (Photo journal)

GPS Training for Nature Park Rangers, FSDA, July 2006



 Early July I was asked to translate for an expedition group intending to set off for twelve days on horseback into the Shavla area of the Altai Mountains. The expedition was organised by the FSDA, (The Foundation for the Sustainable Development of Altai). The aim of the trip was firstly to conduct training in GPS equipment for Nature Park rangers for use in animal monitoring and antipoaching activities and secondly to give American ecological specialists an opportunity to get acquainted with the areas of the Shavlinksy Zakaznik and the recently established ‘Argut’ Nature Park snow leopard country. We rode for twelve days, through the Shavlinsky zakaznik and Argut park territories, setting up camp in a new place each night. The time was spent riding through the valleys and discussing antipoaching technologies, land rights and the development of Argut Nature Park. The park’s area is occupied by one village community which is separated from the rest of the world by a wooden, hanging bridge over the mighty Katun river and has no telephone or radio link with the outside world. The Shavlinsky zakaznik which borders the park is snow leopard migration route territory, but none of the local population actually live on the zakaznik, making it difficult if not impossible to patrol. The Argut park are trying to secure assistance through the FSDA to extend their park boundaries into the zakaznik area and establish a communication system for the village. It was a unique experience to ride through these wild lands. Although no snow leopard, we did see Ibex (Siberian mountain goat), elk and bear. The high point of the expedition for me personally, was the coincidental discovery of some extremely rare and ancient rock art images in pecking technique and what might be ochre not far from our last camp. The following photographs capture moments of the trip.

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