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Time Flies, Cats Grow Up

What a busy year it has been in our Long Term Ecological Study in Mongolia! Our field scientists managed to find wild cubs for the first time ever, collared and tracked various snow leopards across the South Gobi and watched cats they had first met as tiny cubs years ago grow up!

Thanks to the GPS data from her collar, our field scientists were able to find the cubs of Lasya and Anu in their den sites this summer and capture the first ever video footage of wild snow leopard cubs. Watch the amazing video once again here.

A tiny cub grows up to be a mom

Agnes and her cubs

F8 and her sibling, closely following their mother, Agnes

F8 is a female cat we had first seen on a research camera photo in 2009 as a teeny tiny cub, closely following her mom, F7, nicknamed Agnes.

 

 

 

 

 

We saw her again, grown up quite a bit, in 2010.

F8 in 2010

One-year old F8 in 2010

This year, we managed to collar her and follow her movements – and discovered that she has a cub of her own this fall!

Never before has the cycle of snow leopard growth in the wild been witnessed consistently over such a long period of time. It is your generous help that makes a project like this possible!

Young M9 exploring on his own

In March, young M9 dispersed from his mother, Khashaa, and set out to find his own home range. We have been able to track him as he found himself a new home.

We had previously followed a young female, Zaraa, dispersing from her mother, Tenger. While Zaraa made several long excursions in what seemed to be attempts to find a home range of her own, she always returned to Tost, her natal range. Her collar dropped off as scheduled before she settled down, so we don’t know where she finally went.

Map showing cat locations for 31 August through 28 September 2012. M9 (teal circle) appears to have found a new home range in the Nemegt Mountains, north of our study area in the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park. Approximate home ranges depicted here indicate where 95% (outer circle) and 75% (inner circle) of each cat’s locations were contained.

M9 on the other hand seems to have made a permanent move to the north, into the Nemegt Mountains, where he has stayed since April 2012. Watching his movements is giving us the first real insights into dispersal of a sub-adult cat outside of his natal home range. It will be exciting to see where M9 ventures next year, as our Long Term Ecological Study continues – hopefully with your ongoing support!

 

 

Amanda Meadowsa says:

Thanks so much for this. I have recently been able to offer some assistance for Agnes and am so delighted to learn about her and her peers. Looking forward to further insights.

September 8, 2013, 4:16 pm

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