Snow leopard nicknamed Mongol caught in Sayano-Shushensky reserve

Snow leopard nicknamed Mongol caught in Sayano-Shushensky reserve

13 March 2011

An adult male snow leopard was caught by researchers in the Kalbak-Mes area of the Sayano-Shushensky reserve on March 13, 2011, in accordance with Permit No. 7, issued March 4, 2011 by the Federal Service for Supervision of Nature Resources. The permit was issued under the programme to study and monitor the snow leopard population of southern Siberia, which is being carried out by a permanent research team of the Russian Academy of Sciences with the support of the Russian Geographical Society.


The snow leopard, nicknamed Mongol, is over 10 years old and is one of two adult males spotted in the reserve during the 2011 winter-spring period. Previously, workers at the reserve had photographed Mongol with a poacher’s noose around his neck, and on subsequent occasions after he had apparently freed himself from the rope. He was given the name Mongol in 2008, when the first images of him were captured using photo traps.


Radio transmitters on the trap alerted scientists that Mongol had been captured. He spent about two hours in the trap before the researchers arrived. They found a scar from the noose on the animal’s neck, as well as inflamed wounds on the face and shoulders, which were likely sustained in fights with other males during mating season, and later became infected.


Researchers immobilised and examined Mongol. His wounds were treated with ointment, and a 10% Baytril shot was administered. He was then temporarily placed in a special cage for further treatment. On March 15, he was taken to the research team’s base camp located in Bolshaya Ona, where he was transferred to a larger 4x4 meter enclosure with a wooden shelter.  A course of Baytril shots was continued at the base camp to ward off infections. The shots were administered from a distance using a blowgun.  During the last injection on March 18, Mongol was immobilised and a tracking collar was placed around his neck. The animal’s condition was deemed stable.


Once Mongol fully recovers, and the tranquilizers leave his system, he will be released in the same area of the Sayano-Shushensky reserve where he was caught.