Monitoring of new snow leopards in the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve

Monitoring of new snow leopards in the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve

25 September 2019

Planned monitoring of the population of snow leopards continue in the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve within the framework of a grant from the Russian Geographical Society.


The last ten days of September are being used by a conservation department taskforce to work along the snow leopard routes. The group has also been joined by the researchers responsible for servicing and installing new camera traps in the animals’ habitat.


Snow leopards live in mountains with steep slopes and little snow alternating with mountain steppes that gradually reach the Yenisei Valley. It was previously believed that the best habitat for snow leopards was located between the Malye Ury River and the southern border of the reserve. But over a period of the past few years, researchers, who have been analysing the data from the satellite transmitting collars they put on snow leopards, concluded that the animals’ habitat stretched norward by nearly 40 kilometres. It turned out that snow leopards went as far as 15 to 20 kilometres inside the reserve upstream of the Yenisei Valley.


At present, there are over 70 trail cameras monitoring the snow leopards. Their batteries and memory cards should be replaced regularly and the location of some camera traps changed.


The data received from the satellite equipment has shown that the female snow leopard that was recently released into the wild was moving northward along the slopes near the river, and the male leopard was moving along the paths used by Ichthyander, a snow leopard who lives in the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve. Additional trail cameras will be installed along the paths used by the new leopards to collect new data about their behaviour and adaptation in the Sayano-Shushensky Reserve.