Follow The Cats
The photos and video from Anu and Lasya’s den sites are in! We have never before encountered wild snow leopard cubs, and we are thrilled to share our experience with you. You can check out our YouTube channel to see live footage of the den visits!
This long-term snow leopard study in Mongolia’s South Gobi is a joint project with Snow Leopard Trust, Snow Leopard Conservation Fund, and Panthera, and is in cooperation with the Mongolia Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism and the Mongolia Academy of Sciences.
Field researchers conducting our long-term ecological study are watching the movements of our known female snow leopards with fingers crossed. If the females begin to restrict their movements, it could mean that they are looking for a potential den site in order to give birth to cubs. Khashaa, Lasya and Anu are all moving within smaller regions, but have yet to settle on a location that would indicate a den. (more…)
Since 2008, we have been visiting the sites where we seen our collared cats stop for periods of time. We referred to these as ‘clusters’ because we see them as a cluster of data points. Most often the cats stop traveling because they have killed a prey animal and will take a few days to eat. With some detective work, we can gather a lot of information about the animal killed, such as the species, age, sex and general health.
We also survey the habitat nearby to get a better understanding of where the snow leopards hunt. In some clusters the snow leopard has simply laid down to rest, and I have learned that snow leopards prefer to take naps in very, very steep and rugged terrain. Those sites involve a lot of climbing, balancing and telling oneself that vertigo is a highly irrational feeling.
On April 18th, our field researcher extraordinaire Orjan once again successfully captured a healthy snow leopard. We are excited to see where this cat’s home range is located and what size area he patrols.
The special opportunity of naming this cat – the 10th male to be part of the study – was auctioned off at our Fall Event. The winner is a board member of the Snow Leopard Trust, and he has chosen to name the cat in honor of his granddaughter Catalina, who was born late last year. The Greek origin of the name Catalina means “Pure” and this new snow leopard will be named after the Mongolian translation. We are proud to welcome “Ariun” into our study in honor of Catalina and her family.
Thanks to Orjan for his 36th safe capture of a snow leopard and to Catalina, who now has a beautiful namesake roaming the mountains of Mongolia.Photo of Ariun Courtesy of the Snow Leopard Trust/ Panthera
As Sumbee heads to Ulaanbaatar, he leaves our Mongolian base camp temporarily unmanned. Our staffing plan for the country is in development for 2012, but we hope to see Orjan make his return sometime this March. This would mean the beginning of a new collaring season, where we would have the chance to meet more snow leopards living in the area!
Khavar spent most of his time in the in the middle of his home range, although his did travel west toward Aztai and then east toward Khashaa and M9 between January 10-19. Khashaa and M9 continue to travel together, and came within .6 kilometers of Aztai on January 26th. Aztai traveled back and forth between the southeast and west regions of his home range.
Anu has been hunting less than 4 meters to the north of the badlands for the past month, and Lasya has had a number of close encounters. Lasya traveled extensively, and may have met up with Anu, Aztai, and Khashaa/M9 on separate occasions.