UPDATE: New Snow Leopard Equipped With GPS Collar

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.

Tsetsen, previously known as M-11
Tsetsen, previously known as M-11, right after being released back into his habitat

[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.

Groundbreaking Study

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.

Lasya, one of the female snow leopards we've been tracking
Lasya, a female snow leopard we’ve previously tracked with GPS in our long-term study in Mongolia

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
Kolmarden Zoo
Nordens Ark
Swedish University of Agricultural Science
Whitley Fund for Nature
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
South Lakes Wild Animal Park
Phoenix Zoo
Helsinki Zoo
Safari Club International Foundation
Dakota Zoo
Snow Leopard Trust UK
Edrington Group & Edrington Americas
Tulsa Zoo
La Passerelle/Parc Animalier d’Auvergne

8 Comments

  1. Great news for these beautiful creatures. We need to save them from the horrible poachers who are trying hard to remove them from the face of the earth for their greed and laziness to get a regular job. HUMANS: STOP WEARING FUR COATS
    MADE FROM THESE BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL ANIMALS.

  2. He is beautiful, but I have to say that the GPS collar looks scary large and heavy…have there been any indications that the collars are affecting them physically?

    1. Hi Sharon
      Thank you for your question! At this point in time, these collars are still the only viable technology to track a snow leopard – everything else would not have enough range or battery life for the task. That said, we’re working with manufacturers on making them smaller. The battery is really the limiting factor here though. We’ve tracked 20 snow leopards with such collars up to now, and they haven’t exhibited any signs of being affected by the collars. They’ve been hunting, mating, raising cubs etc. normally, so we’re confident that the collar is not a hindrance to them.
      Matt, SLT Communications Manager

  3. The collars prevent cleaning/grooming and make head to head movements between pairs and cubs restrictive. The trapping procedure carried out to ensnare the snow leopards for collars I have seen footage of and it causes the animal great distress. A wild animal caught in a leg snare will do anything to get away from the trap including breaking its own leg or biting it off. I think this so called research should not be commissioned. I would like to know the figures on the number of failed hunt statistics due to an animal wearing the collar? The reduced lifespan figures due to collar vs non collar? Of those leopards caught how many were injured from their snared capture? The collars should not be put on these creatures. The more info you collect the more data the poachers will get/hack and use. And the more info you give out the more poachers and hunters will turn up to destroy the Snow Leopard. Leave them alone. Protect the area with human guards instead and support the local people and their goat population. The collars you put on just make it really easy for poachers and the locals to see the Snow leopards in the rocks and shoot them and it makes it easier for their prey to see the Snow Leopards too and that means the end of the Snow Leopard on this planet. Data is dangerous and I for one would rather the animals were free of collars and free of human interaction. I found it extremely upsetting to watch what was being done in the name of research. Watch learn and protect but from a distance PLEASE! I used to donate to the Snow Leopard projects but I do not agree with the barbaric capture method of snaring animals to fit oversized collars for convenient data collection.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.