Mongol cedes “reigns” to Ikhtiandr

Mongol cedes “reigns” to Ikhtiandr

27 November 2015

Mongol, a male snow leopard aged 15, who has been monitored in the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve since 2008, has grown old and ceded the “reigns of power” to a young male, Ikhtiandr.


Mongol has been captured twice to be fitted with a GPS satellite tracking collar and have his DNA taken. His first trail camera records go back to 2008. Mongol’s biological age equals the old age of humans. He is over 15 years old.


“The young male named Ikhtiandr drove out Mongol to the outskirts of his habitual home range. The fight for domination over the local snow leopard habitat lasted more than a year and ended in favour of Ikhtiandr, who is in his prime,” the press service of the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve reported.


Towards the age of five or six, an adult male leopard reaches his peak and begins fighting for territory. Ikhtiandr is just at that age now, so it could well be that Mongol, ousted by his rival, gave up and migrated northwards. The old leopard has recently been spotted by cameras on the edge of his home range and even in a specially protected area – on the opposite bank of a water reserve, where he hasn’t been seen too often before.


There are no trail cameras in Mongol’s current home, far from his former estate. Researchers hope to learn more about him during a regular count in February 2016 by studying paw prints that help them determine the animals’ migration routes.