Good news from the base camp of our long-term snow leopard study in Mongolia’s Tost Mountains: Our team has managed to equip a new male snow leopard with a GPS collar, allowing them to track the cat’s movements in the months to come.
[update 4/20/15: The freshly collared snow leopard has a new name! Initially known as M-11 to our scientists – M for male, 11 because he was the 11th male cat to be collared in our study – the cat has been named “Tsetsen”. In Mongolian, the name means “ingenious” or “crafty” – certainly a fitting name!]
“The cat weighed 44.3 kg [just under 100 lbs.] and we think he is 4-5 years old”, field scientist Örjan Johansson reported. This is the 20th snow leopard the Trust has been able to equip with a GPS collar since the long-term study began in 2008, and the 11th male.
With the long-term snow leopard study in the South Gobi region of Mongolia, the Snow Leopard Trust and its partners have been breaking new ground in the research of this elusive, endangered cat. Results from this study have vastly expanded our knowledge of the snow leopard’s behavior, its spatial and nutritional needs, its reproductive cycle and population dynamics.
Data gained from the previous 19 cats that had been equipped with GPS collars have yielded insights into snow leopard cub dispersal, migration between mountain ranges, and predation patterns, i.e.
These insights have informed conservation approaches and have been crucial in efforts to protect parts of the cats’ habitat in the area.
It will be interesting to compare the movement patterns of this new cat, which will be named in the coming days, to its predecessors. Analysis of existing research camera photos from the area will perhaps also shed some light on the cat’s history and family connection to other known snow leopards in the area.
The long-term study is a joint project of the Snow Leopard Trust and Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation in cooperation with the Mongolia Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism, and the Mongolia Academy of Sciences.
It’s made possible through the support of:
Cat Life Foundation
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Swedish University of Agricultural Science
Whitley Fund for Nature
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
South Lakes Wild Animal Park
Safari Club International Foundation
Snow Leopard Trust UK
Edrington Group & Edrington Americas
La Passerelle/Parc Animalier d’Auvergne