For almost a decade, Swedish researcher Örjan Johansson has studied the elusive snow leopards of the Gobi Desert. His pioneering work includes equipping 23 individual snow leopards with GPS collars, and publishing groundbreaking papers on how these cats use their habitat or how frequently they kill prey. Last month, Örjan defended the PhD thesis he wrote on this research. In this article, he shares some thoughts about his unique work and what motivates him to do it.
Örjan Johansson’s groundbreaking work on the snow leopard’s biology and behavior has led to novel insights into the spatial needs, predation patterns, and reproduction cycle of this elusive cat. Now, after 8 years of field work, collaring 23 individual snow leopards and spending more than 1,000 nights in the Gobi Desert, this pioneering scientist has received his PhD from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
GPS collars will allow Snow Leopard Trust researchers to better understand the elusive species.
Field scientist Örjan Johansson is back in the South Gobi, the site of our long-term snow leopard study. Together with his colleague Gustaf Samelius, he’s attempting to collar snow leopards and ibex this spring to allow us to track their movements. This is his field diary.
Snow Leopard Trust researcher Örjan Johansson recently published a groundbreaking study where he could show that most Protected Areas in the cats’ habitat are too small to hold viable snow leopard populations. In this article, he explains how he and his team calculated snow leopard home ranges using data from cats they tracked with GPS collars.
40% of Protected Areas in Asia Are Unable to Sustain Even One Pair of Breeding Snow Leopards
We have lost contact with the GPS collar worn by Devekh, the male snow leopard we had been tracking in Mongolia’s South Gobi – most likely due to the collar’s battery running out of steam. For the first time in several years, we’re therefore not currently tracking any cats.
New photos taken by remote research cameras in Mongolia’s South Gobi have revealed the extensive wanderings of a snow leopard. Within a year, the cat was photographed in two different mountain ranges, separated by 40 km of steppe! The findings support the notion that habitats and populations may be more connected than previously assumed.
Sad news from the South Gobi: Earlier this month, Mongolian field researcher Sumbee Tomorsukh discovered the carcass of a dead snow leopard. Next to the body, he found the missing GPS radio collar that Ariun, one of the male cats in our study, had been wearing.
Starting in 2014, the Snow Leopard Trust will partner with NCF India and the Himashal Pradesh Forest Department on a groundbreaking long-term snow leopard study in the Indian Himalayas.