A total of 10 Kyrgyz wildlife rangers have received a Citizen Ranger Wildlife Award for their courage in the fight against illegal hunting in the country’s snow leopard habitat in 2015. They were publicly honoured in a ceremony in Bishkek today, on World Wildlife Day.
Chinasilov Baktibek, a regional wildlife inspector, received an award for his role in bringing a poacher to justice who had illegally hunted and killed a brown bear and an ibex in Sary-Chelek reserve. The poacher he captured with the help of two colleagues has been sentenced to pay a $12,000 fine.
Another award was given to Abdykarimov Urustamaly Hamdamalievich, a ranger working with the Department of Rational Use of Natural Resources. He stopped and apprehended a group of poachers in Surma-Tash reserve after they had killed two pregnant ibex. The poachers have since paid a fine of $3,000.
The award ceremony was presided over by Mr. Sabir Atadjanov, the Director of the State Agency of Environment Protection and Forestry of the Kyrgyz Republic. Other senior officials in attendance included Mr. Kumar Kambetaliev of the Department Rational Use of Natural Resources, and Ms. Aigul Turdumatova, of the Department of Protected Areas.
The event also attracted representatives of various local and international conservation organizations, as well as a contingent of media professionals.
The Citizen Ranger Wildlife Award is the result of an innovative programme designed to empower those on the front lines of the fight against poaching and illegal hunting.
The First Line of Defense
“Rangers and local communities in protected areas are the first and best line of defense for wildlife” says Charu Mishra, Science & Conservation Director of the Snow Leopard Trust, a partner on the rewards programme, “they work under difficult circumstances to protect the natural heritage of their country, and we’re committed to helping them do that as well as possible.”
The Citizen Ranger Wildlife Rewards programme was piloted in 2014 and supported by the Whitley Fund for Nature through Partnership Funding by Fondation Segré and Woodland Park Zoo.
The programme provides public recognition and financial reward for those rangers and private citizens who successfully apprehend poachers and help bring them to justice. It has since been expanded nationally to cover all of Kyrgyzstan’s Protected Areas, thanks to a grant from IWT Challenge Fund through the UK Government.
Citizen Ranger Awards were presented to Chiniev Juman, Chinasilov Baktibek, Abdykarimov Urustamaly Hamdamalievich, Malabaev Daniyar Atamirzaevich, Tashtanov Nurbolot Kazatbekovich, Aibashev Abdibap Pakirovich, Talipov Kumar Kaseyinovich, Akmatov Jilrgalbek Jumalievich, Mukambetov Kanat Turarovich, and Savdanbekov Shamil Tokonovich.