Follow The Cats
Orjan returned to our Mongolian research base camp in early October, and he has already accomplished some incredible things. With the help of Kullu from our India program, Aztai was fitted with a replacement collar on October 15th. The new collar has been reprogrammed to send updates on Aztai’s locations more frequently, giving us the chance to learn even more about this remarkable snow leopard. Aztai was one of the first cats we met through our long term ecological study and so he made the perfect candidate to receive the special new collar.
Three days later on October 18th, Khashaa also received a replacement collar but when researchers made it to the site, they noticed she was not travelling alone. Khashaa was accompanied by her two cubs, who sat high up on the mountain face and watched over their mother while she was being fitted. While running the standard health tests, Orjan made an incredible discovery. Khashaa was weighed at 41.5 kg, which is the world record for any female snow leopard we’ve seen in the wild so far. This means that Khashaa and her two cubs are all extremely healthy, and this ‘supermom’ continues to live up to her name!Photos Courtesy of SLT/Panthera, Khashaa photo by Ben Morlang
Two GPS collars have been located recently in the South Gobi region of Mongolia thanks to field biologist Sumbee!
The first belongs to Devekh, who was collared on February 25th, 2010. His collar had malfunctioned and stopped sending out signals shortly after it was placed, making it incredibly difficult to find. However, Sumbee recovered the collar on August 20th, 2011 after a thorough investigation of the area we believed Devekh to be. The collar has been sent to the manufacturer to download the data that has been stored. This information will help us define his home range and provide insight on any interactions he may have had with other snow leopards.
Khashaa’s collar has recently recovered as well, although the drop off date of September 2nd was expected. The collar was located just 4 meters from where her last GPS uplink placed her, and we have very high hopes that Orjan, our expert field researcher, will be able to replace her collar this fall. Khashaa, previously dubbed supermom, has provided a wealth of knowledge about cub rearing and we wish all the best until we see her again.
Photos Courtesy of SLT/Panthera
Friday, the designate Snow Leopard Ambassador to the Snow Leopard Trust, became a member of our Mongolian research team in the summer of 2008 with the mission to keep our lonely researchers company during their stay at base camp. Her crazy antics are those any cat owner can relate to and have been well documented by our lead researcher, Orjan.
“Friday has made a nice cat door by pushing down one of the roof-windows so that it smashed against the floor. Friday seems to think of this as a big improvement since she can go in and out as she pleases, although she is oblivious to the shattered glass around the ger.”
“If there is enough firewood in the stove Friday will sleep about 50 cm from it (under the table), as the fire dies the cat moves closer to the stove. Just before the fire goes out she squeezes herself under the stove, this ‘Cat-O-Meter’ is a very good notification that it is time to put in more firewood.”
In April of this year, Friday gave birth to three kittens that Orjan helps take care of.
“I made a nice box for her, insulated with spare clothes. But when I came back… my sleeping bag had a little cat family in it. At night, she insisted that I help keep the kittens warm and she put them in the sleeping bag with me. In the end I gave up my thick winter sleeping bag to Friday and started using my thin summer sleeping bag. They provide a lot of joy out here; it adds a lot to our lives to have a cat family in camp, so I reckon that I have to accept being a little cold.”
We are pleased to share a few photos of this spectacular snow leopard. She’s not just any snow leopard, she’s a wild cat in India raising two big cubs. Your donations will help protect this furry family and expand protection for snow leopard just like them in Mongolia, Pakistan, China and Kyrgyzstan. Our remote research cameras too so many great photos, it’s almost like watching the cats play in real-time!
May’s Photo of the Month is placing the focus on three very special snow leopards living in the mountain range of northern India. Two cubs have been seen on our research cameras exploring and playing throughout their home range, a carefree pastime only made possible by the watchful patience of their incredible mother.
This picture means even more because our spring fundraiser is underway. We are raffling off the one-of-a-kind opportunity to name this extraordinary snow leopard mother! The winner of this contest will receive a snow leopard adoption package as well as photos of this special family.
Photo Courtesy of SLT/ Panthera