On October 22-23, 2013, representatives of 12 snow leopard range countries and the international conservation community will gather in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, for the Global Snow Leopard Conservation Forum. The objective of the Forum is to discuss urgent actions and a new global strategy to address conservation of the endangered snow leopard and its habitat in the critical ecosystems of Central Asia.
Kumtor Gold Company has been promoting and supporting snow leopard habitat monitoring and conservation opportunities since operations started in 1997. These activities have been carried out in collaboration with the Sarychat Ertash Nature Reserve, Flora and Fauna International, an international NGO, and other leading Kyrgyz and international Scientists and NGOs. Outcomes of such activities, which were co-funded by grants from the International Finance Corporation (IFC, a member of the World Bank Group) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, include the development of a Draft Management Plan for the Sarychat Ertash Nature Reserve, which was established to study and protect the snow leopard and other species.
Discussion during a biodiversity stakeholder workshop convened by Kumtor in October 2012 highlighted that, since Kumtor’s operations started in the mid-1990s, the number of the Marco Polo sheep near Kumtor has increased from 750 to 2,500. Also, snow leopards, which had been decimated through poaching, have reappeared. DNA-supported research has shown the presence of 18 individual snow leopards.
Following the October 2012 stakeholder workshop, Kumtor developed and published its Biodiversity Management Strategy and Plan in January 2013. This is the first such strategy and plan by a private sector and mining enterprise in the Kyrgyz Republic. Kumtor’s plan recognizes biodiversity conservation and enhancements within the region as important opportunities to generate net-positive sustainability outcomes. Kumtor expects to further integrate biodiversity issues into its environmental management system and conceptual closure plans. The plan also provides a more structured approach to facilitate collaboration and communication with stakeholders interested in Kumtor’s biodiversity impacts.
“Kumtor’s Biodiversity Management Strategy and Plan further formalized and informed our stakeholders about our commitments to support biodiversity conservation in the region, where we operate,” – said Michael Fischer, President of Kumtor. “We will explore the outcomes of the Global Snow Leopard Conservation Forum in Bishkek to find ways to leverage our biodiversity conservation commitments and opportunities”, – he said.
Kumtor Biodiversity Management Strategy and Plan and a summary brochure can be accessed in multiple languages on Kumtor’s website: