Snow leopard Mongol returns home

Snow leopard Mongol returns home

19 March 2011

On March 19, a snow leopard nicknamed Mongol was brought back to the Sayano-Shushensky reserve and set free as an official from the Krasnoyarsk Territory branch of the Federal Service for Supervision of Nature Resources watched. After receiving treatment for injuries, the snow leopard was returned to the same spot where it had been captured. Mongol stepped out of the cage he was transported in and bounded off into the mountains.


Before releasing the animal, researchers tagged Mongol with a GPS-ARGOS satellite tracking collar manufactured by the Russian company ES-PAS. Such collars have already been successfully used to study Amur tigers, polar bears, white whales, reindeer and other mammals.


The collar, custom-made for snow leopards, weighs 600 grams, or about 1.5% of body weight of an adult snow leopard. Their service life is estimated at 18 months of continuous use. The collars weigh about 1.5 times less than the collars used by American researchers to track snow leopards in Pakistan. The collars are not based on VHF transmitters, meaning there is no chance of poachers using the signal to track down snow leopards. The signal is transmitted directly from the collar to a satellite. The device does not interfere with the animal's hunting or otherwise hinder his natural behavior.


Researchers have begun to receive data on Mongol's movement from his collar.


Mongol was caught on March 13, 2011 in the Sayano-Shushensky reserve under a programme to study and monitor the snow leopards of southern Siberia. The programme is being conducted by a permanent research team of the Russian Academy of Sciences with the support of the Russian Geographical Society.

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