Snow Leopard Back on the Map: A New Uplink from Tsagaan

22 Feb follow the cats

We are extremely excited to report an uplink from Tsagaan (white). This single data point lets us know that he is not far from where our researchers are operating right now.

Aztai (green) and Shonkhor (red) covered an average of at least 7 km and 6 km per day respectively. Since we do not know the movement pattern between two locations, these GPS maps are only indicative of the minimum distance that the snow leopards may have covered in the specific time. Aztai’s locations show an interesting ‘zigzag’ pattern of movement towards the Eastern and Western edges of his home range. He seems to have visited the areas of his home range that overlap with that of Tsagaan at least three times. At 0100 hours, the morning of the 17th of February, Tsagaan was at the very edge of his home range in an area that overlaps with that of Aztai. At 0700 hours that same morning, Aztai was shown making a 5 km deep ‘invasion’ into Tsagaan’s territory! Fascinating. We have no uplinks from Tsagaan after the 17th, and Aztai’s next location uplink was only on the 19th. What happened in between is unknown as of now, but we hope to learn more as we replace the collars and retrieve the complete location dataset from the current collar. It astounds us to imagine what interesting tales will unfold.

As is evident from the three new locations that uplinked from his collar, Shonkhor was also on the move. He appears to have traveled close to the southeastern-most border of his home range, not far from the area where Aztai’s home range meets his. The next step can be determined from the uplinks: he traveled back into the center of his own territory. So many questions come to mind: Was Aztai making such broad ‘zigzag movements’ in an attempt to defend his territory from these two other males? Is there a female in oestrus nearby that might be influencing these males and their movements? As planned for the upcoming field season, Orjan is in pursuit of any nearby female snow leopards that we might collar in order to improve our understanding of these interactions between snow leopards, which is currently a mystery to the scientific community.

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  1. Very interesting info thanks guys! Nearby females in oestrous does seem a likely reason behind the movements as this time of year seems optimum for captive snowy matings!!

    It would be wonderful to know more about wild snow leopard interactions – captive individuals I have known seem very friendly toward one another, one male’s interest in particular currently bordering on obsessive toward his mate!

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