Update on Mongol the snow leopard

Last heard about on this website in March 2011, Mongol is in the news once again. He was captured in March 2013 in Sayano-Shushensky Nature Reserve to receive a new satellite-tracking collar and to undergo a veterinary exam and have samples collected.

Here is The Altai Project’s translation of the Reserve’s press release:


“New Collar for Snow Leopard

In Sayano-Shushensky Nature Reserve (Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia), Mongol the snow leopard has a new satellite collar. He was caught by the Reserve’s science staff and zoologists from Severtsov Institute for Ecology as part of the South Siberia Snow Leopard Study and Monitoring Program.

A snow leopard in Argut, Altai Republic (photo by S. Spitsyn)

A snow leopard in Argut, Altai Republic (photo by S. Spitsyn)

Two years ago, Mongol underwent a similar procedure thanks to which all aspects of this species of wild cat became accessible. Since then, he has also posed repeatedly in front of camera traps in Sayano-Shushensky Reserve, which has permitted tracking his behavior and physical condition in his natural environment.

This time, biological samples were taken and a zoological-veterinary examination took place, both of which showed that Mongol is completely healthy and in great condition. The feline was set free, an hour after he was immobilized for examination and a change of collars.

The goal of tracking snow leopards using GPS is to gather information about his movements using the Argos satellite system. Data from Mongol’s collar will be gathered in two places: at Severtsov Institute and at the Reserve, and makes it possible to comprehend his movements and possible migration paths.

Studying snow leopards in the Reserve takes place within the framework of the “Wild Cats of Southern Siberia” project which is funded with support from the All-Russia Russian Geographic Society, Sayano-Shushensky Nature Reserve, Khakassky Nature Reserve and Pozarym federal Refuge and is under the personal supervision of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Currently, Sayano-Shushensky Reserve has the largest protected group of snow leopards in Russia, with 9 adults. During mating season, the number of wild felines within the Reserve grows to approximately 15 snow leopards.

Specialists are confident that this stable group of leopards persists thanks to strong enforcement efforts based on scientific study and comprehensive activities that increase environmental awareness and popularize knowledge about rare animals.

Enforcement improves annually thanks to planned, programmatic, and project activities. Joint patrols are conducted by staff from the region’s protected areas, and the frequency of patrols is increased in areas where snow leopards are resident. Improvements are being made to equipment and technology required for enforcement, science, and environmental education.

The Wild Cats of Southern Siberia program and Snow Leopard Study and Monitoring Program are ongoing, and that means that new discoveries will be made about the life of snow leopards.

Press Office, Sayano-Shushensky Nature Reserve”