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.
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.
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.