The Emergencies Committee under the Government of Tajikistan reports that a snow leopard has killed 18 head of sheep and goats in Roshtqala district of Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous region, or GBAO.  

The incident reportedly took place early in Tabarsem village of Sezhd jamoat early in the morning on February 22.   Нападение хищника произошло рано утром 22 февраля.

The snow leopard reportedly entered the barn of one of residents of Tabarsem district and killed 18 head of sheep and goats.

Residents who came running to the noise could not do anything, and the snow leopard ran away

It is to be noted that the Tajik authorities confiscated the hunting rifles of villagers in the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region several years ago.

Moreover, it is prohibited to hunt snow leopards in Tajikistan.

Tajikistan has toughened penalty for illegal hunting of snow leopard.  Illegal hunting or intentional killing of snow leopard is now punishable by a hefty fine or imprisonment.

The amendment made to Article 232 of Tajikistan’s Penal Code in 2022 stipulates that illegal hunting or intentional killing of snow leopard is punishable by up to three years in jail, two years in correctional labor or a fine in the amount of 800 to 1200 calculation indicators (current calculation indicator amounts to 72.00 somonis).

The same act committed by a person using his official position, a group of persons by prior agreement or an organized group in the territory of the reserve, nursery or in the area of ecological disaster, or in the zone of emergency environmental situation is punishable by a fine in the amount of 1500 2000 calculation indicators or by three to five years in jail.

It is to be noted that Tajik authorities are taking measures to preserve snow leopards in the country. Construction of a rehabilitation center for snow leopards began in the territory of the Jamantal zone in GBAO’s Murgab district in September 2021.  An area of 10 hectares has been allocated for construction of this rehab center.    

According to the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF), there are estimated 4,080-6,590 snow leopards in the wild, but it is difficult for scientists to know for sure. They are listed as 'Vulnerable' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  The numbers are declining due to poaching, habitat loss and climate change.

In Tajikistan, the total habitat area for snow leopards is about 85,700 km, which represents 60% of the total territory of the country.  According to local experts, Tajikistan now contains around 250-400 snow leopards primarily within the Pamir Mountain range.