Most of today's vistors to the Pamirs are interested in the environment and particularly the fauna and flora of the region. I have therefore decided to include a Wildlife section, providing links to websites and blogs with relevant information. I am indebted to Jean-Marc Gayman, initiator of two expeditions to the Pamirs by the French Lepidopterists Association, for the idea of creating this section.

Wildlife is threatened in the Pamirs: not only the well-known large mammals, such as the snow leopard (see the site of the Snow Leopard Conservancy below and the article from The Guardian here) and the Marco Polo sheep (Ovis Poli), but also and certainly more surreptitiously the extraordinary butterflies of the Pamirs (see the stunning photos on the website of the French Lepidopterists on the links under Butterflies below). They report evidence that the population of Parnassius Autocrator, found only in the Pamirs (and there only in three locations) and in North-Eastern Afghanistan has been almost totally destroyed by commercial poaching.


pamirs butterflies lepidopterist parnassius autocrator

Parnassius Autocrator female, E. Pamirs, Sasyk (photo : A. Zhdanko)

In a remarkable local initiative, former hunters have begun to create nature conservancies in and around their villages - see here and here.

For further reading I recommend highly, of course, the Odyssey book Tajikistan and the High Pamirs - A Companion and Guide, published in June 2008, which contains the following chapters:

Birding Tajikistan by William Lawrence (page 245)

Butterflies of Tajikistan by Jean-François Charmeux and Jean-Marc Gayman (page 247). N.B. The three first links under Butterflies below describe expeditions by Jean-François, Jean-Marc and their lepidopterist colleagues in France.

Flora of Tajikistan by Peter Cunnington (page 250)

Birds and Mammals in the Eastern Pamirs by George Schaller (page 652)

The Snow Leopard: Phantom of the High Mountains by Rodney Jackson (page 654)

The illustrations below are from the work of Nicolai Alexseyevich Severtsov (1827-1885), the Russian scientist: his expedition to the Pamirs in 1878 brought back specimens of 20,000 plants (representing some 1,000 different species), 60 mammals, 350 birds and 20 fish.


pamirs wildlife marco polo sheep ovis poli severtsov

pamirs wildlife marco polo sheep ovis poli severtsov

pamirs wildlife birds severtsov

pamirs wildlife birds severtsov



The listing below is by no means complete and if your website/blog is not here, or if you know of another useful site, please contact me at the e-mail address on the Home Page.

The residents of the the beautiful village of Bachor (in Shughnan - one of the starting points for trekking to Sarez) are working to protect local wildlife with the support of the Snow Leopard Conservancy. For information on wildlife in and around Bachor see

Endangered Species

The Mountain Ungulates Project in Tajikistan, operative since 2008, has recently opened a website describing its activities for the protection of wildlife in Tajikistan, in particular the Marco Polo sheep (Ovis Polis): see here. The project is implemented by the Tajik NGO "Nature Protection Team" with support from the Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations (ZGAP, Germany) and GTZ's Regional Programme "Sustainable Use of Nature Resources in Central Asia". The project is supported by a wildlife management expert provided by the "Centre for International Migration and Development" (CIM). Congratulations to Stéphane Henriod, Stefan Michel and their team.


pamirs snow leopard conservation

Photo Stefan Michel

An article posted on the National Geographic Cat Watch website by Tatjana Rosen of Panthera on January 14, 2016 states: "The future of wildlife is in our hands: the future of snow leopards is in the hands of local communities" - see here.


pamirs snow leopard conservation

Snow leopard in Alichur (Photograph by Panthera/Burgut Conservancy)

Links on endangered species:




Snow leopards

And an article and video from Asia-Plus describing the remarkable way in which the local population of the Pamirs protects even animals that have attacked their flocks (Russian). here.

Marco Polo sheep (Ovis Poli)

Domesticated Animals



All text and photographs (c) Robert Middleton 2002

Web master Romanyuk Mikhail