Name: Zaraa (Hedgehog)
Family: Zaraa is Tenger's cub
Watching Zaraa, who we had managed to collar a few weeks before her mother, Tenger, has taught us a lot about how young snow leopards leave the nest. Zaraa’s apparent separation from her mother occurred around the time of year when we believe snow leopards begin breeding - which has led us to assume that one or both of the females may have come into oestrus, leading to the separation.
Zaraa's expeditions after leaving Tenger led her all the way south into China, travelling more than 200 km in just a few days. A month later, she ventured north from Tost to Toson Bumba and all the way into the Nemegt mountains, becoming the first snow leopard in our study to reach the edge of the Toson Bumba Mountain range and actually cross over, then walk through an area we call the ‘badlands’ in order to reach this distant chain of mountains. We have since seen Aylagch, a young male, do the same, but Zaraa remains a pioneer!
Shortly after her adventurous trek, her collar sent out what we refer to as mortality signals, a pattern that suggests the snow leopard wearing it may have died. Fortunately, this wasn't the case: Our field researcher Orjan immediately set out to find out what had happened. He was able to recover her undamaged collar, but found no signs of Zaraa - and in this case, no sign was clearly a good sign!
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GPS collar fitted in May 2010
Collar dropped/removed in May 2011
Time Flies, Cats Grow UpM9 Is All Grown UpA Journey Through The BadlandsZaraa’s Walk to the BorderHow snow leopards ‘leave the nest’