Our basecamp is up, and we’re underway with the first ever long-term ecological study of snow leopards.
The basecamp is in Mongolia’s South Gobi Province, in the Tost mountains, approximately 250 km west of the provincial capital of Dalanzadgad. This is some of the best snow leopard habitat in Mongolia.
We have 3 gers (yurts) up, and they are home to an international team of scientists and graduate students from Mongolia, India, USA, and Argentina. A Ph.D. student from Sweden will join the team next month. The center will be staffed year-round. This first team of scientists is already busy with camera trapping and genetics studies.
The most ambitious undertaking this year will be the initiation of GPS collaring of snow leopards which we hope will start in July. The new generation of collars the team will deploy uses satellite phone technology to uplink multiple GPS locations a day for each collared cat.
Over the next 10 to 15 years this modest research facility is expected to grow and eventually include an information center for local people and tourists, as well as a training/education center which will host scientists and graduate students from around the region.
The long-term study is a collaborative effort of the Snow Leopard Trust, Snow Leopard Conservation Fund, the Mongolian Ministry of Nature and Environment, the Mongolian Institute of Biology, Felidae Conservation Fund, and Panthera.