Exciting News From Mongolia – New Collared Snow Leopard In Waves
In early April, Dr Gustaf Samelius, Dr Justine Shanti Alexander and Dr Örjan Johansson returned to the field to continue our long-term ecological study of snow leopards and their habitat in the Tost Mountains of Mongolia. Below is an excerpt from an email we received from the mobile ger (yurt) in the Tost Mountains.
“Just before dawn, I glanced at the thermometer as I opened the ger door. -5 degrees C. I could see my breath as I climbed the mountain in the freezing air. When I reached the place where we listen for signals from the camera traps, I unfolded the antenna and turned on the receiver.
It immediately sent out a quick pulse – indicating we’ve caught something! Adrenaline rushing, I quickly scanned the other sites, making sure we had no other cats before rushing to wake Gustaf. We jumped on the ATVs and raced to the site.
So what . . . there she was, the snow leopard known as F12. One of the two snow leopards we most hoped to catch! She was very calm and just lying down which made it easy for us to cast her.
F12 is seven years old, taller than the average female, weighing 40 kg! She had two litters – her first in 2019. Her one-year-old from her second litter is traveling with her now and will likely stay by her side for another year.
When F12 woke up, she climbed a mountain, where she remained for the rest of the day. Over the next 48 hours, she traveled five kilometers west. We’re excited to follow F12 for the next 20 months (his collar is programmed to drop at this time) to find out how his home range overlaps or borders that of his mother and sister. F12’s dam Anu is a favorite and, at 13, is one of Tost’s oldest hens.
Right now, our science teams are receiving vital data from the F12 collar on the behavior of the wild snow leopard. The area she is currently roaming overlaps with the site where we collared our very first snow leopard as part of our long-term ecological study. F12 has traveled about 100 kilometers since it was glued.
Our long-term ecological study in Mongolia, which includes our snow leopard collaring program, is helping us find and implement solutions to secure a future for this endangered cat.
Thanks to your support, we have tracked a total of 32 individual snow leopards with GPS collars to date. This knowledge is crucial to our understanding of their ecology and helps inform global snow leopard conservation efforts.
This long-term ecological study is carried out in collaboration with the Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation in Mongolia and Snow Leopard Trust, with special thanks to the Ministry of Environment and Green Development, the Government of Mongolia and the Mongolian Academy of Sciences for their support.
SLT would also like to thank:
Acton Family Giving, Bioparc Zoo de Doue la Fontaine, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park, Kolmarden Zoo, Korkeasaari Zoo, Nordens Ark, Play for Nature, Tierpark Berlin, The Big Cat Sanctuary/Wildlife Heritage Foundation, Tulsa Zoo , Whitley Fund for Nature, Basel Zoo, Dresden Zoo, New England Zoo
Thank you to all of the many incredible partners who have supported our study and long-term ecological research in Mongolia since it began in 2008. We could not do this work without you.