Research and observation point towards snow leopards being solitary creatures. But in March, three of the cats we’re tracking with GPS collars seem to have staged a little get-together that lasted over three days!
First, Ariun, one of the males in our study, and Agnes, a female cat, seem to have overlapped in a very small area (called cluster). Potentially, one of the cats had caught a prey there. The next day, Dagina (previously known as F-8) joined the party – and for 3 full days, the trio remained in the same area before each cat went its separate way. We don’t know at this point what may have caused this unprecedented get-together in the Gobi – but we’ll continue to study the cats to better understand their behavior in the future.
What to Call a Group of Cats?
We didn’t think it would come to this, but it looks like it may be time to coin a phrase to describe a group of snow leopards. A group of tigers is known as an ambush, a group of regular leopards is called a leap. Lions form prides. There is no term for a group of snow leopards though – most likely because it was assumed that they didn’t ever form groups. Maybe we could refer to a cloud of snow leopards? An avalanche? A drift? Perhaps even a banana of snow leopards, as one scientist (who, for understandable reasons, has asked to remain anonymous) has suggested?
What’s your idea? Share it with us in the comments!