The final festival of “Snow Leopard Country” held in Talas

For three days from 27 October, 2016, a festival of “Snow Leopard Country” at the end of the project on “Kyrgyz traditional knowledge at the basis of protection of the snow leopard and its habitat”, took place in Talas. The purpose of the festival was to share information and study results with the local population, various stakeholders, and custodians and practitioners of traditional knowledge, as well as to draw attention of the local population to the problems of snow leopard conservation and their habitats. The festival also presented rich local knowledge on the natural resources, sensitised local environmental traditional knowledge, created an initiative for local discussion platform, and provided an opportunity to discuss environmental ideas in order to improve the local livelihood through the preservation of natural resources such as snow leopards and other species.

People who attended the event included local initiative groups of snow leopards from pilot communities, representatives from environmental institutions and local governments, local custodians and practitioners of Kyrgyz environmental traditional knowledge, participants of Ak Ilbirs Summer Camp, representatives from partner organizations, a delegation of ethnic Kyrgyz from Murghab district of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region in Tajikistan, and local and media.

Here are some of the festival programmes:

– A speech by the plenipotentiary representative of the government of the Kyrgyz Republic;

– Presentations on project activities;

– Showcase of a documentary and an informational film about environmental preservation;

– Presentations of the ideas of schoolchildren participating at Ak Ilbirs Summer Camp;

– Presentation by representatives of pilot communities;

– Round table discussions on the results of the project and further action plans;

– Enactment of the film, “Descendant of the White Leopard” by children;

– Theatrical plays by pilot schools from Bal-Ball and Shabdan communities on wildlife conservation;

– Children’s concert at the Talas Children’s Educational Center;

– Music performance by the Talas Opera Orchestra;

– Exchange visit among pilot communities.

We also had the following exhibitions:

– Publications on Kyrgyz traditional knowledge, as well as brochures on the snow leopard;

– Crafts and other products from kindergartens in Talas;

– Handicrafts from members of the pastoral network, Kyrgyz El Akyl Kazyna (KEAK) and their sales

– Market booths for local medicinal herbs and distribution of ancestral recipes;

– The comic strips on snow leopard, “The Adventures of Zhibi”

– Photo exhibition of the project activities.

The following workshops were held as part of the festival:

– Games with environmental themes;

– Production of eco panels with the image of a leopard;

– Hunting with Munushkerov with Taigan dogs and Golden Eagles.

RDF presented its activities and the project results at the round table. The Ak Ilbirs Summer Camp participants then expressed their desire for an initiative to further promote preservation of snow leopards and their habitats. They also made presentations on ideas for project implementation which included puppet theatres, snow leopard theatres, eco-actions, green patrols and joint educations of children with elders and hunters on nomadic environmental knowledge.

The festival provided a good opportunity for a lively discussion among the representatives of the pilot sites, Bal-Ball and Shabdan communities, Chon-Kemin National Park and Besh-Tash National Natural Park, participants of Ak Ilbirs Summer Camp, and members of KEAK. Everyone exchanged their opinions and ideas on the issues of conservation of natural resources of the area and the country.

On the next day, we hosted an exchange visit to the pilot communities of the Kemin and Talas districts, in which the Murghab group of ethnic Kyrgyz from Tajikistan also took part. The exchange visit participants visited business farms in Kara-Buurinsky, Bakai-Ata, and Talas districts. They were very interested by the greenhouses, bean shops, guesthouses, storages for fruits and vegetables, orchards where they grew berries and fruits ,and other facilities for the development of agriculture. We also organised a visit to the Museum of Chingiz Aitmatov in the village of Sheker, and an excursion to the historical and cultural centre of Manas-Ordo.

On the third and the final day, the festival participants met with the residents of the pilot village of Bal-Bal to study the results of eco-campaigns and saw the tree nursery maintained by the schoolchildren in Besh-Tash National Natural Park. After that, those wishing to make a pilgrimage to the mazar “Arashan”, were invited to visit the sacred site. At the site, we discussed the possibility of spreading the philosophy of living in harmony with nature based on our ancestral heritage, including our belief and respect on such rare and mystical animals like snow leopards.

If you wish to have more information on this project or event, please contact:

Coordinator of the event: Kuluipa Akmatov

Tel: (0770) 220 506