8 Billion

In Russian Altai mountains, there are today vast areas of protected bio-reserve, but in the past things were very different. Hunting game for sport was a major part of life here – but many species had become endangered. One local man understood the scale of the problem and decided he had to act. Leonid Kukpekov was a keen hunter himself, but he knew that the wildlife of this area would not survive without help. He pioneered the eco-tourism projects that have no only protect wildlife, but have also brough much needed income to local communities.

At first, nobody believed Leonid would succeed: what tourist would travel to such a remote and wild place? But Leonid decided that art held the answer – he made sculptures from the area’s driftwood, and began taking tourists to see ancient rock art hidden high in the mountains. Now, Leonid wants to work with his community to take the project even further.

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