Evalar organized a research expedition to the Sailyugemsky National Park in Altai fr om September 22nd to 28th. Among the participants were journalists, bloggers, members of the Russian Geographical Society, and scientists who explored the habitat of rare animals and endemic plants in the region.
In 2021, Evalar initiated a partnership with the Sailyugemsky National Park in the Kosh-Agach district of the Altai Republic. One of their first joint environmental projects focused on research aimed at preserving the unique plant and animal species in the Altai region.
The primary focus of the research was on two medicinal plants: Rhodiola rosea (also known as golden root) and Rhodiola cold (or Rhodiola rosea). Both plants are listed in the Russian Red Book and are endangered due to their widespread use in folk medicine as powerful adaptogens and for treating women's health issues. Alexander Maneev, a candidate of biological sciences and associate professor at Gorno-Altai State University, explained that the scientists had a meticulous task ahead. They needed to manually count each plant, determine their locations, map them, assess the condition of their habitat, and evaluate the extent of human impact. Based on this information, decisions would be made regarding the most effective protective measures.
Both of these plants are actively studied by Evalar’s specialists and are used in various company’s products. Interestingly, over the years, Evalar's agronomists have developed agricultural techniques for cultivating Rhodiola rosea and Rhodiola cold, successfully growing them in cultivation.
The second object for research was the rare Argali mountain sheep, which is the world's largest subspecies of argali and is listed as a threatened animal species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature, therefore it has been assigned the status of "species close to vulnerable". Alexey Kuzhlekov, a researcher at the Sailyugemsky National Park, responsible for the study and conservation of the snow leopard and Altai mountain sheep in the Altai Republic, noted: "The expeditionaries were very lucky: they managed to see the Argali sheep rut, which is typical for the beginning of autumn. At first there were 50 of them, which seemed like a huge luck, and then there were more and more of them – as a result, we managed to count about 150 individuals! After all, almost all the argali that exist in Russia live in this national park or adjacent territories."
The project's objective was to study the carrying capacity of the pastures wh ere argali sheep graze. Denis Malikov, the director of the national park, emphasized the competition between domestic livestock and argali sheep for grazing areas. He stated that they needed to understand the level of competition, the capacity of pastures for domestic animals and argali sheep, and identify areas where it would be better for domestic livestock not to graze and leave them exclusively for argali sheep. This assessment could only be done after a comprehensive evaluation of the pastures.
Participants of the expedition were impressed by the beauty of Altai region, including the picturesque road along the Chuisky Trakt, crossing mountain rivers, climbing "Pik Zhurnalistov" (Journalists Peak), observing wild animals in their natural habitat, and discovering petroglyphs on the rocky hill of Zhalgys Tobe. They commended the dedication of the national park's staff and their commitment to preserving nature. The partnership between the national park and Evalar was seen as a positive step toward achieving their shared goal.
The scientific research on endemic medicinal plants and endangered animals is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. The results of these studies are of great interest to the national park staff, as well as to agriculture, botanists, zoologists, ecologists, teachers of agricultural and nature conservation disciplines, and students specializing in agriculture.