More News about (4th) Snow Leopard

The Snow Leoaprd Trust is annoucing the collaring of a 4th snow leopard in Mongolia. To read Orjan’s post about the event, click here. 

Our team just placed a GPS radio collar on a 4th snow leopard. This is a cat we have never seen before on our remote cameras, bringing the number of snow leopards using our study area to nine! The new cat has been named Shonkhor, which means “falcon” in Mongolian. A pair of endangered Saker Falcons were nesting at the site where he was collared. In addition, falcons are a symbol of youth in Mongolia, and Shonkhor appears to be a young cat: Orjan describes him as “quite small,” weighing a little less than 70 lbs (~35kg).

If it is true that Shonkhor is indeed a youngster, it will provide the Trust with an unprecedented opportunity to learn how the movements of younger cats compare with those of adults, and how cubs establish their home ranges. This information has never been documented before, but is key to understanding how snow leopards use their habitat so that we can design programs and policies to ensure their survival. Check out the category “Mongolia: Following Orjan” to read more details, straight from the man who did all the work.


  1. Are these collars less intrusive than those shown in the documentary “Snow Leopard: Beyond the Myth” ? I was quite shocked that scientists placing such a collar could be so indifferent to the need to maintain the animal’s camouflage. The mere existence of a collar that makes the animal easier to see could lead to its changing its behaviour, thus invalidating the results. Assuming it didn’t die of starvation first.

  2. In 2006, the Snow Leopard Trust collared a snow leopard in Pakistan using the same type of collar. That is the cat you saw filmed in Beyond the Myth. A lot of these same questions came up then–why are the collars so big, do they impede hunting, etc. We developed a FAQ sheet and I think I’ll share it around again. I am making a new page in the “About Us” section titled “Collar FAQs.” If you still have more questions after that, please feel free to post them.

  3. Yes, I was aware that the prey wouldn’t perceive colour the way we do, or I’d have commented on the blue ear tags. Perhaps I should have done anyway – maybe the prey can’t see them clearly, but birds would be able to, and birds may alert prey to the existence of the leopard.

    Even if the collars get dirty, and end up being a different colour, I’d be surprised if they end up spotted the way the leopard is. Maybe the spots are an evolutionary hang-over that no longer have any survival significance, but it’s not an assumption I’d want to make.

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