Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve gets new data on a family of snow leopards

Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve gets new data on a family of snow leopards

20 October 2021

Researchers from the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve and representatives of the Russian Geographical Society’s Khakassia Branch have processed the materials gathered by a field expedition. They obtained new photos and videos from camera traps that tell the story of a snow leopardess and her offspring, who were born in 2020.


“The cubs still keep close to their mother. However, the leopardess is not always caught by cameras together with the young snow leopards. Generally, snow leopard cubs stay with their mother until they are 18 months old, so they’re going to embark on an independent life soon,” said head of the reserve’s research department, senior researcher Roman Afanasyev.


Snow leopard cubs have almost reached the size of their mother but, like all children, are still very playful. This spring scientists installed several camera traps in places that they determined by the results of tracking the snow leopards in the winter and subject to the terrain and the animals’ behaviour. Now that the cameras have been installed around the places inhabited by the snow leopards’ family, the scientists have been able to learn how young snow leopards perceive the world through playing.


In 2018-2019, two snow leopards, a male and a female, were brought to the Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve from Tajikistan as part of The Snow Leopard – A Living Symbol of the Western Sayan Mountains programme. In 2020, the female gave birth to two cubs. This August the scientists used camera traps to determine the cubs’ sex: they are a male and a female.

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