Orjan recounts his first two incredible weeks collaring snow leopards at the base camp of our long-term study (Orjan is a Swedish PhD student working on this study):
We have set a new collaring record and put out four GPS radio collars in 15 days. First we put a collar on a new female, called F5 for now; she is probably 2-3 years old and weighed 30 kg.
Five days later we got two alarms at the same time. The first alarm was Aztai waiting to get a new collar. His old collar was scheduled to drop off within a day. Pretty good timing to have it changed out. We worked as fast as we could with the old boy. He seemed to be in good shape and was as nice as ever.
Then 3 km further southwest was a new female waiting for us. She weighed 36 kg and I estimated her to be 4 years old; her name is LASYA. Pretty tough little girl, she snarled and barred her teeth. She was in a safety-snare that my friend and assistant Carl-Fredrik insisted that we should build. He claimed that we would attract a cat instantaneously. On his last day in camp we built it and two days later we collared Lasya. All you who do not think that I will hear about that for the rest of my life, please raise a hand…
That was one long day, we set out at 11 in the evening and returned to camp close to five in the morning. After some well deserved rest we set about to repair equipment and fix things in camp. Five days after our crazy night we collared Khavar again! [Last October, Khavar’s collar unexpectedly fell off six month early]. He has gained 10 kg and now weighs 40.7 kg. I am pretty sure that he is 3 years old and that he will soon give Aztai a match for who will rule this area.
LASYA’s name was picked by Snow Leopard Trust supporters James and Kathleen Duffus as a reference to great beauty. Thank you Duffus Family !