Exciting News from Mongolia – New Collared Snow Leopard on Air

In early April, Snow Leopard Trust scientists headed back to the field to restart our collaring program, which is part of our ongoing long-term ecological study of snow leopards and their habitat in Mongolia’s Tost Mountains.

Below is an excerpt from an email we received from the mobile ger (yurt) in the Tost Mountains.

“Just before dawn, I glanced at the thermometer as I opened the ger door. -5 degrees C. I could see my breath as I hiked up the mountain in the frosty air. When I reached the spot where we listen for signals, I unfolded the antenna and flipped on the receiver.

It immediately sent out a fast pulse – indicating we caught something! Adrenaline rushing, I quickly scanned the other sites, making sure we didn’t have other cats before hurrying down to wake Gustaf. We jumped on the ATVs and headed to the site.

And then . . . there she was, the snow leopard known as F12. One of the two snow leopards we were most hoping to collar! She was very calm and just laid down, allowing us to dart her easily.

F12 is seven years old, larger than the average female, weighing in at 40 kg! She’s had two litters – her first in 2019. Her one-year-old cub from her second litter is traveling with her now and will likely stay by her side for another year.

Snow Leopard Trust scientists, Justine Shanti Alexander and Örjan Johansson, with Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation biologist, Choidogjamts (left) monitoring F12 before she was safely released.

When F12 woke, she walked up a mountain, where she remained for the rest of the day. In the next 48 hours, she traveled five km West. We are excited to follow F12 for the next 20 months (her collar is programmed to fall off at that point) to learn how her home range overlaps or borders her mother’s and sister’s. F12’s mother, Anu at 13 years old, is one of the oldest females in Tost.”

Right now, our science teams are receiving vital data from F12’s collar about wild snow leopard behavior. The area she is currently ranging overlaps the site where we had collared our first ever snow leopard in our Long-term Ecological Study. F12 has moved about 100 kilometers since she’s been collared.

Our long-term ecological study in Mongolia, which includes our snow leopard collaring program, is helping us find and implement solutions to ensure a future for this endangered cat.  

Thanks to your support, we have tracked a total of 32 individual snow leopards with GPS collars to date. This knowledge is crucial for our understanding of their ecology and helps inform global snow leopard conservation efforts.

F12 captured on our research cameras in 2017.

Inspired by our work? Make a donation and help us track more cats in Mongolia!

This long-term ecological study is in collaboration with Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation in Mongolia and Snow Leopard Trust with special thanks to the Ministry for Environment and Green Development, Government of Mongolia, and the Mongolian Academy of Sciences for their support.

SLT would also like to acknowledge:

Acton Family Giving, Bioparc Zoo de Doue la Fontaine, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park, Kolmarden Zoo, Korkeasaari Zoo, Nordens Ark, Play for Nature, Tierpark Berlin, The Big Cat Sanctuary/Wildlife Heritage Foundation, Tulsa Zoo, Whitley Fund for Nature, Zoo Basel, Zoo Dresden, Zoo New England

Thank you to all the many incredible partners who have supported our Long-term Ecological Study and research in Mongolia since it began in 2008. We could not do this work without you.


  1. Thank you for all the AMAZING work you are doing! You creat the best feelings to those who love these fantástic animals and what you are doing to protect them! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

    1. This is so exciting!! Kudos to the team of scientists for their dedication in the face in adverse terrain and below freezing temps. Truly a work of love! I can’t wait to hear more about the life and adventures of F12!

  2. Small samples of data are very rarely representative of the population: no way out. Having large numbers of radiotagged individuals helps understanding better their ecology. In turn, a better understanding of their ecology will allow a more detailed identification of their conservation requirements. Increasing the number of radiotagged individuals is not a researcher’s obsession: it is the necessary premise for well documented conservation, besides helping clarify the many still imperfectly known features of the life history of this magnificent large cat.

Leave a Reply

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