Snow Leopard Conservation Featured in First Presentation for SUNY ESF’s Dale L. Travis Public Lecture Series
James P. Gibbs, internationally recognized scientist and professor of conservation biology and wildlife management at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), will give the first Dale L. Travis Public Lecture on Wednesday, March 20, at 7:30 p.m., at ESF’s new Gateway Center. A dessert reception will follow the lecture. Admission to the lecture and reception is free. Free parking will be available on the ESF campus.
This event is made possible by the support of Dale L. Travis, ESF Wood Products Engineering ’59. Travis envisioned the lecture series as a way to inform the public about the exciting research going on at ESF in many different fields of study.
Gibbs, director of the Roosevelt Wild Life Station and associate chair of the Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, will discuss his conservation work with Russian and U.S. partners to save the last snow leopards in Russia’s Altai Republic. The Altai Republic is in southern Siberia, bordering China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan in central Asia and distinguished by its remote mountain landscape and ancient herding-based culture.
Snow leopards are one of the most endangered species in Russia, where the species’ distribution is generally limited to where the Altai-Sayan Ecoregion, a portion of which falls within the Altai Republic’s borders. According to recent surveys, less than 100 leopards inhabit the Altai and Sayan Mountains. Surveys have clearly indicated that what was until recently the largest Russian snow leopard population—the Argut River Basin population in Altai Republic—has been almost extirpated by snaring. Snares are clearly the most serious threat to snow leopards and a suite of actions is urgently needed to save and restore the Argut snow leopard population.
Gibbs will share photos of the Altai landscape and describe a collaborative effort by a dedicated international team of scientists and nonprofit experts to track snow leopards, survey their habitat and prey species and work with local people on anti-poaching and other conservation solutions. No ordinary endeavor, this work involves river rafting, treacherous winter mountain forays and other risks to achieve success monitoring and conserving this elusive and beautiful animal.
The public lecture is timed to also celebrate installation of the spectacular Roosevelt Wildlife Collection display in the Gateway Main Concourse.
Information about the event, including a parking map, is available on the SUNY-ESF Roosevelt Wild Life Station website: www.esf.edu/rwls/