Kazakh snow leopard threatened by ski resort
A 7,000 signature-strong petition has been sent to the President of Kazakhstan, following plans to build a ski resort in the prime habitat of the snow leopard
The central region of the Ile-Alatau National Park, as well as land bordering Kyrgyzstan will be the home of a new, vast ski resort if plans are to go ahead. The area is home to the endangered snow leopard, of which they are only around 6,000 left in the wild.
Campaigners are anxious that the plans merely mark the beginning of an aggressive redevelopment programme, commenting: “The ski resort is only a disguise for the actual plan, which is to build private luxury houses, hotels and a golf course in the very heart of the National Park. The Almaty Mayor’s Office and private business interests are lobbying the legislature to make amendments to laws and regulations so that they could not be accused of breaking the law.”
The area is also home to the Turkestan lynx, the ibisbill, the Himalayan snowcock, and the Menzbier’s marmot.
In 2002, the park was nominated for the status of UNESCO World Heritage. However despite the acknowledgement of the park’s environmental importance and scenic beauty, the government seem firm in their plans to proceed, arguing that the increased revenue from tourism will help boost the local area’s economy.